The first goal set by the women’s basketball team at St. Catharine College in the pre-season was to reach the 20 win mark. That was accomplished last week when Lena Bramblett’s team took care of visiting UVA-Wise and Pikeville to improve to 20-7. More importantly was the fact that the two victories were Mid-South Conference wins that kept the Patriots in the middle of the league standings with three games to play.
All seven of St. Catharine’s losses are in the conference as the Patriots stand at 6-7 and in sixth place. But they are just two games behind fourth place Campbellsville who they host in the home finale this Saturday. The regular season ends with road games at Cumberlands (12-0) and Lindsey Wilson (6-6).
The Bears lumbered into Lourdes Hall with a 0-13 conference mark but it looked like they very well may get their first W as they led the Patriots by two points with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. But Patriot forward Kasei Evans swished two free throws to send the game into overtime.
And in the extra five minutes the Patriots took an early lead on an Evans’ layup and never trailed in claiming the 71-65 victory.
“We decided we would start playing the last three minutes of regulation,” said Bramblett. “We played about as bad as we can play up to that point. But Pikeville is really not that bad of a team. They have seven freshmen and they have some talent.”
It was the Patriots’ second game without leading scorer Janae Howard who is out with a leg injury. In her absence three Patriots scored in double figures led by Courtney Milam’s 14 points. Reilly Poirier added 13 and Rianne Hofstraat had 10.
St. Catharine, who trailed by seven points at halftime and by as many as 11 in the second half, shot just 31 percent from the field but made 22 of 32 free throws (69 percent). The Bears, 4-22 overall, were also 22-32 from the foul line and shot 38 percent from the field. St. Catharine won the rebounding battle 52-38 as Poirier and Evans grabbed 13 and 12 rebounds respectively.
“They (Pikeville) played harder than we did for 38 minutes,” added Bramblett. “We finally stepped up and showed we were a better team. It has been four years since we had a 20 win season. And we have done that against a strong non-conference schedule.”