LAGRANGE, Ga.—A dip into USA South Conference play did not go quite as planned as LaGrange defended its gym with a 58-36 win over Agnes Scott on Wednesday night. The Panthers raced out to a double-digit lead after the first quarter and pulled away from the Scotties to get over .500 for the season at 5-4.
The Scotties see their record extend to 0-6 to begin the year while falling to 0-1 in conference action. LaGrange's triumph gets them the coveted first conference victory of the season after losing to Berea and Maryville over the weekend.
LaGrange's methodical inside-outside game proved to be effective in the first quarter as the Panthers stretched out the Scottie defense with some well-timed makes. The Panthers scored 11 of the first 13 points of the game, with Agnes' only points coming off the hands of Briana Holland (Austell, Ga.) at the charity stripe.
The Panthers extended the lead to 20-8 by the end of the opening stanza but evened out in the second. Agnes Scott buckled down on defense in the second half, forcing the Panthers to settle for mid-range two-point shots. To their credit, LaGrange made the most of its opportunities and did enough to build its lead to 15 by halftime at 33-18.
Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Scotties in the first half, with 12, compared to only seven for the home side. Made buckets also came at a premium for the Scotties as the scored eight of their 18 points at the free-throw line in the half.
Agnes Scott kept waiting for the luck to turn its way on offense, but shots continued to rattle in and out. Despite a struggle of its own, LaGrange was able to use the quiet offensive effort by the Scotties to continue to grow its lead in the third by four to 43-24.
First-year Kalin Smith (Kiln, Miss.) began to find a rhythm from behind the arc in the final quarter after the Scotties started 0-for-14 from three to start the game. However, LaGrange was able to outscore the Scotties for the fourth consecutive period to pull away for good.
Garis Grant (Charleston, S.C.) was the leader in rebounds (12), points (9), assists (2) and blocks (3) for the Scotties.
Jahpera McEachin scored a team-high 12 points for the Panthers, while Marilauren Farr finished a point and two rebounds away from a double-double. Daijah Cousins had an efficient eight points off the bench for LaGrange.
Thirty-six points marked a season-low for the Scotties, who came into the game averaging nearly 10 points more than that. A quiet night from deep until the final quarter might have been the root cause as the Scotties entered the day averaging just under six a game.