SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – After picking up two fouls in the first 1:29 of Tuesday game, and being tagged with her third with eight minutes left in the first half, Lyon College senior Christine Smith could have called it a night. But she hung tough, scoring nine points – hitting 3-of-3 behind the three-point arc – and drew a charge with 29 seconds remaining to help the Scots to hold on for a 68-65 victory over John Brown University in Lyon's season opener in Bill George Arena.
Lyon senior forward Debbie Onukwube had the hot hand for Lyon, hitting 7-of-11 from the field and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe to lead all scorers with 19 points. She also grabbed one of her five rebounds, was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws with 3.1 seconds remaining to ice the game as the Scots improved to 1-0 on the young season.
Junior Gabby Jenkins was 4-for-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from behind the three-point arc to added 13 points and take down five boards for LC. Sophomore Whitney Keith managed 10 points and a pair of rebounds.
Lyon was blistering from behind the three-point line, converting 10-of-18 (55.6%) as a team, while hitting 23-of-50 (46%) from the field. The Scots also shot the ball well from the charity stripe, converting 80% (12-of-15).
Meanwhile, John Brown couldn't get rolling offensively all night, missing shots in the paint throughout the game. The Golden Eagles made 24-of-59 (40.7%) from the field and only 5-of-16 (31.3%) of its three-pointers. JBU helped itself at the free throw line, converting 13-of-14 (92.9%).
Despite outscoring Lyon 34-12 in the paint, the Scots' three-point shooting helped the team build a 35-31 lead at the half. The Scots led by as many as 11 points (27-16) in the first half and built the lead back to 11, 51-40, with 10:40 left in the second period. But the Golden Eagles continued to claw their way back, going on a 25-16 run to cut the LC lead to 67-65.
With a chance to tie the game, Keith drew a charge in the transition game for Lyon with 54 seconds remaining to preserve the lead. The Eagles put themselves in a position to tie the score again with :34 on the clock when they forced a Lyon turnover.
But when JBU's Lauren Rodgers tried to turn the turnover into a quick bucket, Smith, who spent the entire game in foul trouble, stood her ground and drew a charge with 29 seconds remaining.
Jenkins had a chance to ice the game with a 1-and-1 a few seconds later, but missed the first free throw. But Sierra Shipley, who ledJohn Brown with 18 points, missed a shot in the paint. The rebound went out of bounds off Lyon, giving the Eagles yet another chance. But Kami Garrison, who scored nine points, couldn't convert another inside jumper and Onukwube hauled in the rebound and was fouled. With 3.1 seconds remaining she hit 1-of-2 free throws the end the game.
John Brown won the battle of the boards, 36-26, including a 13-5 advantage on the offensive end. The Scots turned the ball over 19 times, compared to 15 for the Eagles.
Lyon College will continue its three-game road trip to start the season when the Scots join the Lyon men in Blue Mountain, Miss. to take on Blue Mountain College on Saturday. The women will start the doubleheader at 2 p.m., followed by the men at 4 p.m.