BATESVILLE, Ark. (LyonScots.com) – After toying with Benedictine University at Springfield (Ill.) for the first 10 minutes Thursday night, the 15th-ranked Lyon College women's basketball bolted out to a 47-27 halftime lead and then slammed the door shut on the Bulldogs in the final 20 minutes as the Scots captured their seventh straight victory, a 92-48 American Midwest Conference win in James C. Becknell Gymnasium.
The triumph, Lyon's 12th in its last 13 games, kept the Scots (16-2, 6-0 AMC) in a first-place tie with 28th-ranked Columbia College (13-5, 6-0 AMC), which knocked off Missouri Baptist, 92-75, at home Thursday. That sets the stage for a huge conference matchup Saturday in Batesville when the Scots host the Cougars, with sole possession of first place in the AMC standings on the line. Tip-off in the first game of the women/men doubleheader is set for 2 p.m.
In other league action on Thursday, William Woods (14-2, 5-1 AMC) stayed one game off the leaders' pace with a 59-46 win over Park University (5-10, 2-4 AMC), Hannibal-LaGrange (10-7, 3-3 AMC) went to overtime to clip Williams Baptist (9-9, 2-4 AMC), 62-60, and Harris Stowe (4-13, 1-4 AMC) visited Stephens College (3-13, 0-6 AMC).
Thirteen of the 14 Lyon College players who stepped on the floor scored at least two points in the Scots' win over the Bulldogs. LC Head Coach Tracy Stewart-Lange went deep to her bench as only two players spent over 20 minutes on the floor.
The Scots hit an identical 51.5% (17-of-33) of their field goals in both halves, while limiting the Bulldogs to only 32.1% (9-of-28) in the first half and then slamming the door to limit Benedictine to just 26.3% (5-of-19) in the final 20 minutes. BU converted only 29.8% of its field goals in the game, while being forced into 27 turnovers. Lyon committed just 15, while recording 14 steals.
LC also ran away with the rebounding battle, finishing with 47 boards, while the Bulldogs managed just 28.
Suzanne Fincham and Christine Smith led the balanced attack for the Scots, scoring 11 points apiece. Fincham added four steals, while Smith posted seven assists. Debbie Onukwube was also in double-figure scoring, dropping in 5-of-6 field goals for 10 points, while grabbing three boards.
Lyon's Whitney Keith had another balanced night in a starting effort, scoring eight points, while chipping in six rebounds. Tiffany Angotti came off the bench to drop in both three-pointers as she scored nine points, Alex Davidson scored seven, added three assists, two rebounds and two steals, Rachael Jones pitched in seven points and seven rebounds off the bench and Gabby Jenkins and Jahnette Epperson each contributed six points and three rebounds. Cayley Wagoner scored five points and Brianna Tharp and Phagen Altom scored two each.
Brittany Rush led the Benedictine attack with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. Jadlyn Harmony was also in double-figure scoring with 12 points.
Lyon appeared as if it was going to run away with the game early, bolting out to a 13-2 lead just 6:08 into the first half. But the Bulldogs battled back, cutting the advantage to 17-12 at the 10:09 mark.
The Scots then went on an 11-2 run over the next 4:16 to move out to a 28-14 advantage and slowly built the lead to 23, 47-24, just before the end of the half.
Lyon College then turned up the defensive pressure to start the second half, only allowing the Bulldogs to score one point in the first 10 minutes of the period, while scoring 21 on offense to explode out to a 70-28 lead with 10:35 remaining.
Benedictine didn't score its first field goal of the second half until the 5:30 mark, and by that time the Scots had complete control, leading 76-31. Lyon coasted from there, holding leads of 45 points on two occasions before the end of the contest.