Concord women ride second half explosion past Bluefield State

Feb. 7—BLUEFIELD — The Concord University women's basketball team exploded in the second half, outscoring Bluefield State 47-22 after halftime to secure a 72-53 victory in a non-conference game held at Ned Shott Gymnasium Monday evening.

After trailing 31-25 at halftime and as much as eight early in the third quarter, graduate guard Nakaila Gray and senior guard Maddie Ratcliff each knocked down a pair of free throws that led to a 39-37 CU (11-9) margin with 5:15 left in the frame.

Ratcliff scored six of her 13 points in the third quarter. Her layup with 27 seconds remaining gave CU a 44-41 edge heading into the fourth quarter. In the frame, the Mountain Lions also forced 12 BSU (10-10) turnovers, while converting eight points off turnovers.

To begin the final ten minutes of action, Ratcliff and Gray knocked down back-to-back three-pointers. This marked the start of a 16-0 Concord scoring run. Freshman guard Ana Young, sophomore forward Abbie Smith, and junior guard/forward Deja Atkinson contributed buckets during the scoring spurt. Then, Gray swished another three-point basket at the 5:21 mark to give CU a 20-point advantage, 63-43.

Over the next three possessions, Young drained back-to-back-to-back three-pointers as CU took its biggest lead of the evening, 72-45, with 3:14 left. The Mountain Lions earned their 11th victory of the season by a final of 72-53.

CU held the Big Blues to just 29.5 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from three-point distance, the second-lowest allowed by the Maroon and Gray this season.

Smith scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the first half to aid her team-leading 10th double-double on the season as she finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Gray did a little bit of everything for Concord, scoring 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting (75.0 percent), snagging five rebounds, and coming away with a game-high five steals. Young contributed 15 points, knocking down three three-pointers off the bench. Ratciff added 13 points, going 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

Junior guard Skylar Davidson and Atkinson each contributed six assists, a career-high for Atkinson. Smith and graduate guard Alexis Phillips swatted four of CU's six blocks.

The Mountain Lions finish their three-game road set against Notre Dame at Murphy Gymnasium for a Mountain East Conference game Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

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