Charlotte, NC - The JWU Women's Basketball Team hosted Piedmont International University on Thursday. Down by 14 at halftime, the Wildcats battled back and took the lead late but fell in the end 84-80.
The visiting Bruins jumped out to a 7-0 and then a 13-4 lead to start the game, but the Wildcats closed the gap to 18-16 with 2:40 left in the first quarter. The Bruins ended the quarter on a 9-1 run to complete the quarter with a score of 26-17 in favor of PIU. Less than two minutes into the second period, a Jamyah Montissol basket capitalized a 7-0 run to again cut the lead to two points, 26-24. PIU would respond again, stretching the lead to 16 points before the half ended with the Bruins up 48-34.
The USCAA D2 #10 Wildcats slowly chipped away at the lead, drawing within three points when Jada Morgan converted a layup with 4:00 left in the period. The run from JWU positioned themselves within range of the Bruins as they entered the last frame trailing 65-59. JWU went on a 13-4 run early in the fourth to finally wrangle the lead away from PIU, going up 74-73 with 5 minutes to play on a pair of Ineesha Hankerson free throws. The Bruins wouldn't go down without a fight, and ended the game outscoring the Wildcats 11-6 to claim the 84-80 victory.
The Wildcats shot 50% from the field, including knocking down threes at a 43% rate. Despite both teams registering 25 turnovers, the Wildcats held a 40-29 advantage in points off turnovers. It was Montissol's third straight game with at least 20 points as the sophomore guard dropped a new career-high 26 points. She also led the team with 4 assists and 3 steals. Jada Morgan had 17 points of her own, while Hankerson and Justice Wallace both chipped in 10 points. Hankerson registered 9 rebounds to lead JWU.
"We are very proud of our team. They fought until the end of the game and showed a lot of heart in the 2nd half," said JWU Head Coach Ashley Raley-Ross after the game. "We will continue to focus on the small things as we prepare for this weekend's game,"
The Wildcats move to 6-8 on the season and travel to Virginia University of Lynchburg on January 18th for a 6:30 pm tip-off. This is a rematch of the 71-59 JWU victory on January 14th.