MARS HILL, N.C. – Capitalizing on a season-high nine 3-pointers, the Mars Hill women’s basketball team upset Anderson, 61-42, in the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon at Stanford Arena.
Anderson slipped to 20-8 overall and 14-4 in the conference, but won its’ first-ever SAC championship, as second-place Lenoir-Rhyne dropped a narrow decision at Newberry. The Trojans will enter next week’s Food Lion SAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed and will host either Lincoln Memorial or Wingate in Wednesday’s first round.
Mars Hill (7-19, 4-14 SAC) closed the 2012-13 campaign by winning two of its last three games and earned a split of the season series with AU.
The Lions snapped an early 5-5 deadlock with a 16-5 run over a 10-minute span and claimed a double-digit lead with 6:21 left in the first half. Mars Hill pushed out to its largest lead of the first half, 30-17 with just less than two minutes remaining and held a 33-21 halftime advantage.
The Trojans opened the second stanza with six unanswered points with senior forward Breonda Shannon starting the surge and guard Sierra Simpson dropped in back-to-baskets to trim the deficit to 33-27 at the 17:28 mark, but it was as close as AU would get since the early going, as the Lions countered with nine straight points to gain its largest lead of the contest to that point, at 42-27, with 13:06 remaining.
The Lions gradually built a 21-point lead with less than a minute left in the game.
Mars Hill connected on 9-of-18 from beyond the arc, while the Trojans were a season-low 1-for-12 from long-range. The Lions held a 43-32 rebounding advantage.
Senior Alissa Diaz pace the Trojans with 13 points, while forward Breonda Shannon chipped in six points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Mars Hill’s Kristen Metcalf led all scorers with 21 points, while Ansley Ricker added 10 points.
The Trojans open the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament as the top seed and will play host to the eighth seed on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Abney Athletic Center.