BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – It wasn't a pretty win for the 19th-ranked Lyon College women's basketball team Thursday night, but a win nonetheless, as the Scots led Park University by just five at the half and then hit 58.3% (14-of-24) from the field in the final 20 minutes to pull away for a 57-41 American Midwest Conference victory in James C. Becknell Gymnasium.
The win, Lyon's fourth straight and ninth in its last 10 games, left the Scots (13-2, 3-0 AMC) in a three-way tie for first place in the league standings with 16th-ranked William Woods (12-1, 3-0 AMC) and Columbia College (10-5, 3-0 AMC). WWU rolled over Hannibal-LaGrange (9-5, 2-1 AMC), 85-48, and Columbia rocked Benedictine University at Springfield (3-10, 0-3 AMC), 99-40, on Thursday night.
Lyon College won't have long to savor its win as the Scots travel to Fulton, Mo. on Friday for a showdown with William Woods on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game is the first of a women-men doubleheader.
In other American Midwest Conference games on Thursday, Missouri Baptist (5-10, 2-1 AMC) edged Harris-Stowe (3-12, 0-3 AMC), 76-67, and Williams Baptist (8-7, 1-2 AMC) picked up its first league win with a 73-61 verdict over Stephens College (3-11, 0-3).
Both Lyon and Park had trouble finding their scoring touch in the first half of Thursday night's game as the squads combined to hit only 15-of-54 (27.8%) in the first 20 minutes as the Scots managed a 21-16 lead at the break.
The Scots then forced nine Pirate turnovers in the second half and hit 58.3% (14-of-24), while limiting Park to only 35.7% (10-of-28), as LC outscored Park 36-25 to pull away.
Lyon College receive big nights from seniors Phagen Altom and Suzanne Fincham, as they each scored 14 pointds. Altom dished out six assists, picked up four steals and four rebounds, while Fincham pulled down seven boards and blocked a pair of shots.
Right behind them was sophomore Whitney Keith and junior Gabby Jenkins. Keith almost finished with a double-double, scoring nine points and pulling down 11 rebounds, to go along with three steals, a block and three assists. Jenkins scored eight points and tallied seven boards and a block.
Lyon senior Debbie Onukwube scored seven points and totaled six rebounds, Christine Smith scored three points and Alex Davidson added two points, four rebounds and two assists.
Only one Pirate scored in double figures as Brianna Beridon hit 9-of-20 from the field for 22 points. She also picked up five steals.
Neither team was able to generate a lead larger than five in the first half, as Park took a 10-5 lead at the 10:52 mark, before Lyon outscored the Pirates 16-6 over the final 10:21 of the period to grab a 21-16 advantage.
The Scots extended the lead to six a couple of times early in the second half, before finally building a 15-point lead, 41-26, with 12:11 remaining.
Park trimmed the lead back to 41-30 thirty-nine seconds later, but that was as close as the Scots would let them come as Lyon College went on a 11-4 burst to widen the gap to 18 (52-34) with 5:13 remaining and then coasted from there.
The Scots forced 19 turnovers in the game, while committing 20 offensively. Lyon finished the game with a 40.4% (21-of-52) percentile in field goal shooting and 41.7% (5-of-12) behind the three-point arc. Park managed just 33.3% (18-of-54) from the field and a dismal 14.3% (1-of-7) from three-point territory.