DANVILLE, Va. — Averett University women’s basketball held off Meredith College in the fourth quarter for a 68-56 victory Wednesday in the USA South Conference Tournament First Round hosted at the Grant Center.
Averett (18-8), the No. 3 seed in the East Division, advanced to Saturday’s USA South quarterfinals at West Division No. 2 seed Piedmont College at 2 p.m.
Meredith (9-17), the No. 6 seed in the East, nearly erased a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to get within two points multiple times in the fourth quarter. Kimberly Schuh’s layup and free throw with 3:08 remaining closed Averett’s lead to 56-64. Yet, the Cougars got some key points over the next two minutes to quickly extend the lead and put the game out of reach.
Senior Ravyn Johnson came up clutch during that span — hitting a pair of free throws and a layup soon after Schuh’s three-point play— to help the Cougars push their advantage to 60-54 with 1:45 remaining. Senior Kiara Smith drained a big 3-pointer with just over a minute to go and freshman Courtney Scott picked off a pass and scored in transition, which put Averett ahead 65-64 with 44 seconds to go and all but seal the game.
The win secured Averett’s fourth consecutive 18-win season, tying the program record for most overall wins in a single season.
Johnson’s double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds led Averett. Scott finished with 16 points, four assists, three blocks and a career-high seven steals. Five of those steals and 11 of those points from Scott came in the first half. Senior Brooke Carthon added 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals while Smith had 12 points and five boards.
Averett, which shot 27 percent in the first half and 31.4 percent for the game, struggled early against Meredith, which built a 13-5 lead midway through the first quarter. However, the Cougars’ offense stabilized and they grabbed their first lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Averett took a 28-24 lead into halftime.
The Cougars led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter before Meredith made its comeback attempt. The Avenging Angels got 23 points and 14 rebounds from Schuh, including 15 points and eight rebounds in the second half. Kate Perko chipped in 15 points and 12 boards.
In addition to Wednesday’s tournament game, Averett swept the regular season with Meredith.