COLUMBUS, Ga. – USC Aiken advanced to the Peach Belt
Conference Championships title game Saturday afternoon with a 54-41
victory over UNC Pembroke in Frank G. Lumpkin Center.
The win was the ninth straight for the No. 9 Pacers, who advanced to the PBC Championship title game for the second consecutive season and for the third time in the last four years.
USCA’s first-team, all-conference performer Hannah DeGraffinreed scored a game-high 20 points and Lindsay Sundberg netted 11 points and team-high seven rebounds off the bench.
Senior guard Domonique Washington paced the Braves with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while DeDe Cotton managed nine points and six rebounds.
USC Aiken, which never trailed, opened the game with the first six points and closed the first half on a 7-0 run that DeGraffinreed capped with a layup with just 0.4 seconds left.
Both teams struggled from the field in the opening 20 minutes. The Pacers shot just 27.3 percent but hit 5-of-11 3-point attempts. The Lady Braves fared slightly better, shooting at a 30.4 clip but connected on only 2-of-10 from long range.
Sundberg gave USCA its first double-digit lead when she banked in a trey from the left wing at the 13:19 mark of the second half. DeGraffinreed followed with a jumper for a 38-24 lead and after a Pembroke basket, DeGraffinreed took a perfect feed from Kayla Harris for a layup and a 40-26 advantage with 12:02 remaining.
The Braves countered with treys from Washington and Cotton to pull within 40-32, but that’s as close as UNCP would get.
Aiken shot 32.8 percent for the game, compared to 34.0 for Pembroke. The Pacers won the rebounding battle, 39-35.