MONTGOMERY, Ala.—Sophomore Garis Grant (Charleston, S.C.) banked home a shot as time expired to clinch an exhilarating victory for Agnes Scott in the season opener versus Rust. Grant finished with a game-high 19 points, including the most important bucket of the game in the waning moments to help the Scotties beat Rust College 57-56 in the first game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Huntingdon.
Last season's USA South Rookie of the Year, Grant continued where she left off with a stat-stuffing performance in the low post. The forward finished off her 15th career double-double with 11 rebounds, while adding five blocks to boot.
A seesaw game throughout, neither team was able to put much distance between them and the other side in the first half. Six lead changes in the first half ended with Agnes Scott possessing a slim 23-21 advantage at the halftime break.
It was all Agnes at the start of the third quarter as sophomore duo Anna Weimerskirch (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Grant combined for nine points as a part of an 11-0 run to start the period. The Scotties were in firm control with a 34-21 advantage at the 5:44 mark in the third when Rust went on a torrid 15-2 run for the remainder of the quarter to knot things at 36.
The game swung fully back in favor of the Bearcats as they continued the big stretch well into the fourth. With 6:22 remaining in regulation, D'Andra Pringle drained a three-point shot for a 48-39 lead to cap off a 27-5 run spanning eight minutes.
Agnes Scott did not back down despite having their backs up against the wall and methodically chipped away to stay within a possession in the waning moments. Natasha Banks (Douglasville, Ga.) sunk two free throws with five seconds and change on the clock to make it a 56-55 game in Rust's favor.
Pringle, who had been a consistent presence for the Bearcats in the second half, was sent to the free throw line on the other end but missed both to open the door for last-second heroics.
Banks threw a deep pass on the inbound to beat the pressure and hit Grant in stride at the opposite foul line. Grant took two dribbles and quickly shot the ball over the long defender for the game-winner as time expired on the game clock.
The Scotties were able to overcome 24 turnovers that directly led to 21 points for the Bearcats.
Weimerskirch and Jane Lado (Louisville, Ky.) also had stellar days on offense with 15 and 10 points respectively. Agnes Scott outrebounded Rust 52-45 for the game.
The Scotties won their season opener for the second consecutive season. They'll look to stay unbeaten on the season when they take on Bob Jones University at 3 p.m. on day two of the tournament.