DANVILLE, Va. -- The Meredith College Angels basketball team dropped Wednesday night's USA South Conference opener 65-54 to the host Averett Cougars. Led by a 17-point performance from Jessi Hayes, a hard fought battle kept the Avenging Angels close into the final minutes of the game.
Meredith continues to battle with ball control challenges, and the Cougars recorded 21 points off Angel miscues. But the Avenging Angels outrebounded Averett thanks to 13 boards from Hayes and a combined 17 from Amy Rhoney and spring semester newcomer Kirstie King, who also plays soccer for Meredith.
The Angels opened the game trailing by just one point through 10 minutes of play and slipped to a five-point deficit at the half. AU came out swinging in the third period and led by as many as 25 points with just under three minutes remaining in the period.
Hayes dropped in two three pointers late in the third quarter, and Chandler Hines put back her own missed shot to pull the Angels to within 15 heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation.
King put back an offensive board at 8:27 and Hayes drained her third three-pointer to chip away at Averett's lead. Neither team scored for nearly three minutes before the teams exchanged buckets, but AU scored an extra layup to maintain a double-digit advantage at 4:31.
Meredith cut the lead to eight on a jumper from King but would get no closer as time ran out.
Alixis Roccia and Samm Chandler led the Cougars with 17 and 14 points, respectively, and Frida Lundquist grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Avenging Angels host a USA South doubleheader this weekend starting with N.C. Wesleyan Saturday. The Methodist Monarchs travel to Raleigh Sunday afternoon, and both games tipoff at 2 p.m. in Weatherspoon Gym.