- The Covenant women's basketball team continued its hot streak and broke a long losing streak in the process with a dominating 71-58 victory over Piedmont on the road on Saturday afternoon.
Covenant (11-11, 6-6 USA South) has won five straight games, the program's longest winning streak in the NCAA era and overall since the 2008-09 season. The win also snapped a 14-game losing skid to Piedmont (19-4, 10-3 USA South) and the first win in Demorest since 2000. Covenant had not beaten the Lions since 2009.
It was also the worst home USA South loss for Piedmont in over three years.
Kaley Hallmark recorded her first career double-double with a career-high 22 points to go along with 10 rebounds.
Hallmark went 6-of-9 from the field with five 3-pointers and dished out three assists. Bekah Walter had 18 points and Jessica Bell added 16 points, four rebounds and a team-best five assists. Joanna Smith tallied 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
The Scots carried their prolific shooting from Friday night's win at Brevard into Saturday. Covenant hit 10-of-15 with four 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 26-14 lead after the first 10 minutes. A Hallmark 3-pointer broke an early 2-2 tie and Covenant jumped out to a 24-8 lead after a Bell layup with 2:41 left in the first.
The lead remained in double figures for much of the second quarter. After Piedmont sliced the lead to nine with under two minutes left before the half, Covenant stretched the margin back to double-digits as Walter and Hallmark produced consecutive baskets. Smith ended the period with a jumper to give the Scots a 41-28 lead.
Covenant never let Piedmont, the defending USA South Tournament champions, back into the contest over the final two quarters. The Scots' lead dipped below 10 just once in the second half, but a bucket from Walter and a 3-pointer from Hallmark extended the lead back to 46-33 with 7:58 left in the third.
The Scots led 59-45 heading into the fourth and again extended that advantage. Covenant took its largest lead of the day, 66-45, after a Walter layup with 6:46 remaining in the game.
Covenant connected on 46.2 percent (24-of-52) from the field with eight 3-pointers and a 15-of-20 effort at the foul line. The Scots forced Piedmont into 18 turnovers and produced 28 points off those giveaways.
Piedmont's Amari Price tallied 14 points and seven assists while Dakota Sullens had 15 points. The host Lions managed just 36.4 percent (20-of-55) shooting with a 6-of-23 performance from beyond the 3-point line.
Covenant will look to extend its win streak to six when it travels to Macon, Ga., to face Wesleyan on Friday, Feb. 9. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
A 31-4 scoring run that stretched over a span of nine minutes between the first and second half propelled the Covenant men's basketball team to an 86-63 rout of William Peace on Saturday afternoon in USA South action at the Hermann Athletic Center.
The victory is the fourth straight for Covenant (12-8, 7-5 USA South) and completes a 3-0 week for the Scots. Covenant also remains unbeaten all-time against William Peace at 6-0.
Six players scored in double figures for Covenant led by Bailey Spragg's 18 points and nine rebounds. The well-balanced Scots also received five 3-pointers and 15 points from James Mitchell and 12 points apiece from Caleb Haynes, Will Crumly, and Nick Palmer. Haynes added four rebounds, while Crumly had five boards, and Palmer five rebounds and two assists. Berto Dryden also checked into double-digit scoring with 10 points to go along with four assists.
Jared Jauch had a game-high six assists as Covenant dished out 16 assists on 27 made field goals.
It was a tight contest for most of the first half, but Covenant began to seize control with under six minutes left before halftime. Leading 30-25, Covenant ended the half on an 18-2 run over the final 5:44 of the period to take a 48-27 lead into the break. Haynes had six points during the run and a 3-pointer by Mitchell followed by a Spragg layup near the end of the half capped the run and gave Covenant its largest lead of day to that point at 21.
The run continued into the second half as the Scots outscored the host Pacers 13-2 over the first three-plus minutes of the period to go ahead 61-29 after a Mitchell triple with 16:42 remaining. Covenant made five of its first seven shots in the half, including two treys from Mitchell, to extend the lead.
The lead would not dip below 22 points the rest of the game as Covenant cruised to the win. The Scots led by 32 on multiple occasions later in the half. Ryan Rhodes came on late in the contest and knocked down his first career 3-pointer giving the Scots an 84-53 lead with 3:40 left.
Covenant shot 52.9 percent (27-of-51) for the game with 11 3-pointers and a 21-of-26 effort at the foul line. Covenant also had a 38-28 edge on the boards.
William Peace (4-16, 2-9 USA South) got 14 points off the bench from Mikal Gaylord. Gaylord was the only Pacer in double figure scoring as William Peace was held to only 39.7 percent (23-of-58) shooting and 8-of-31 from beyond the 3-point line. Tyson Sellers had nine points and Trey Bryant grabbed seven rebounds for the Pacers in the loss.
Covenant will look to make it five straight when the Scots travel to Berea on Wednesday. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.