AIKEN, S.C. - A double-double by Catherine Cain and a strong second half effort came up just short for USC Aiken in its effort to acquire its second straight victory over a ranked foe as 14th-ranked Lander held on for a 76-59 Peach Belt Conference win over the Pacers on Saturday evening at the Convocation Center.
The loss, which came in a contest that was amazingly USC Aiken's seventh against ranked opposition in the 2009-10 season, dropped the Pacers to 9-10 overall on the 2009-10 season. USC Aiken is now 4-6 in the PBC. Lander improved to 16-1 overall with its win. The Bearcats are still perfect in the PBC at 9-0.
USC Aiken and Lander stayed close for the opening 10 minutes with the game all square at 19-19 with 9:18 remaining until the halftime break. Things would change in Lander's favor from there with the Bearcats ending the half on a 25-7 run that would see them enter intermission with a seemingly commanding 18-point lead at 44-26.
The scrappy Pacers would not give up though, going on a 16-6 run over the opening minutes of the second half to sit behind just eight points at 50-42 with 15:50 left in the contest. Over the next few minutes, USC Aiken and Lander would keep the game in single digits, but Lander would push their lead back to 18 at 68-50 with 6:45 remaining. The Pacers would not be able to get any closer.
Cain (Dayton, Ohio/Ohio University) had 11 points and 11 rebounds in the game. The double-double was the second of her Pacer career against a nationally-ranked team as she also secured one in USC Aiken's home victory over nationally-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne on Dec. 17, 2009.
Nakia Pinkney (Orangeburg, S.C./Orangeburg-Wilkinson) continued her strong week in the loss, capturing 13 points and a career-high tying nine rebounds.
USC Aiken's Lindsay Sundberg (Mansfield, Conn./E.O. Smith) was the final Pacer in double digits with the sophomore collecting 10 off the bench in the loss.
Lander was led by three players in double figures with Tasheba Butler obtaining a game-high 18 points for the Bearcats. Butler was 8-for-11 from the floor in the win. Shannon McKever (15) and Brittni Johnson (15) were the final two Bearcats to obtain double figures.
USC Aiken ended its night shooting 37.1 percent (23-for-62) from the field collectively as a team. Lander hit upon 50.8 percent (30-for-59) of their attempts as a squad.
USC Aiken will next play host to rival Augusta State for a men's and women's basketball doubleheader on Monday, Jan. 25.
The special doubleheader is already being dubbed the "Sea of Red." The Pacer Fanatics and Interfraternity Council will be sponsoring a pre-game tailgate party for the students at the loading docks behind the Convocation Center. The Pacer Fanatics will have supplies to prepare everyone to cheer on the Pacers to victory against the Jaguars.
The doubleheader is expected to be a sell-out in the USC Aiken Convocation Center. The 3,569 fans inside the Convocation Center for the Pacers' regular season games last year against Augusta State were a part of history as the crowd was the most to ever see a USC Aiken home athletic contest.
Each ticket is for general admission seating and is good for the men's and women's games that evening. The action gets underway with the Pacer women taking on the Augusta State women at 5:30 p.m. The Pacer men and the Augusta State men will take the floor immediately following the women's game at approximately 7:30 p.m.