Hatchel's late free throws lifts FHU over Blue Mountain
"Taleeah Cross led the Lady Lions with 25 points in the win"
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(8)Freed-Hardeman
Blue Mountain College

Hatchel's late free throws lifts FHU over Blue Mountain

Thu, Nov. 3, 2016 - [Women's Basketball]

Matt Barker, Sports Information Director

BLUE MOUNTAIN, Miss. - The Freed-Hardeman Lady Lion basketball team proved Thursday it's not how you start a game that matters, but how you finish it, as the Lady Lions turned around a sluggish first half shooting performance with a solid second half on their way to an 80-78 victory on the road at Blue Mountain College.

The Lady Lions (1-0) struggled to get anything to fall in the first two quarters, as they shot just 26 percent from the field entering the halftime break. Blue Mountain (Miss.) College (0-1), on the other hand, had no trouble on the offensive end in the first half, as they shot an impressive 52 percent throughout the first two quarters, including 11 unanswered points to start the game.

Matavia Cox led the Toppers on the offensive end, as she ended the night with 18 points and eight rebounds. Mallorie Sweat and Madison McCreless also reached double digits in the match-up for the Toppers, as Sweat finished with 11 points while McCreless chipped in 10 points in the loss.

Taleeah Cross paced the Lady Lions on the offensive end, as she ended the night with 25 points while Kim Mallory chipped in 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds to keep FHU in the game down the stretch. Sandrea Sylman rounded out the scoring for FHU, as she ended the night with 11 points and six rebounds in the win.

Despite shooting a sluggish 26 percent throughout the first two quarters, the Lady Lions turned things around to close the game, as they ended the night shooting nearly 39 percent from the field.

Blue Mountain stayed hot for a majority of the game, as they ended the night hitting a 50.9 percent clip, shooting 28-for-55 from the field in the match-up.

The Lady Lions trailed by as many as 18 in the first half, as Blue Mountain relied on hot shooting to take a commanding 32-14 lead with 4:51 remaining in the second quarter. However, the Lady Lions would close the half on an 11-4 scoring run to close the gap to 11 at the 36-25 mark entering the half.

The Lady Lions would continue to chip away at the lead to start the second half, as Kim Mallory would open the third quarter with four unanswered points to shrink the Blue Mountain lead to seven at the 36-29 mark.

The scoring flurry would continue for FHU in the third quarter, as they were able to chip away at the lead and close the gap to one point at the 53-52 mark with 1:04 remaining in the quarter.

The Lady Lions, in search of their first lead in the game, finally found it with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, as Carrie Hatchel was able to connect on a field goal to give FHU a 77-76 lead. A made free throw by Hatchel moments later would give the Lady Lions a two point advantage at the 78-76 mark entering the final minute of play.

Blue Mountain; however, would not go down without a fight, as Matavia Cox would connect on two free throws of her own to even things up at 78 apiece with 42 seconds remaining in the game.

However, a foul by the Toppers on the ensuing possession would give Carrie Hatchel another opportunity to give the Lady Lions the lead, as she was sent to the stripe with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Hatchel would connect on both free throws to give the Lady Lions an 80-78 lead, which would be just enough for FHU to pick up the victory in their season opener.

With the win, the Lady Lions move to 1-0 on the season. Blue Mountain College falls to 0-1 on the season with the  loss.

UP NEXT: The Lady Lions will be back in action at home Saturday November 12 for a Homecoming match-up against No. 10 Bethel University. Tip off is set for 1:00 PM at the Brewer Sports Center.