DAYTON, Tn. – Junior point guard and Sparta, Tennessee native Deandra Luna already reached the 500-assist mark in her career earlier this month, but another milestone was achieved on Wednesday night when the No. 16 Bryan women’s basketball team soared past the Point University Skyhawks (Ga.) 85-63. At the four and a half minute mark of the third quarter, the former White County High School standout pulled up from behind the arc and sank a three-pointer, putting her at 1,000 career points, joining her with an elite group of Lions. Luna went on to score two more points to finish with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and a team-high 7 assists. She trailed teammates Karli Combs and Kaitlynn Hennessee in the scoring column with Combs delivering a team-best 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 6-of-9 from long range. Hennessee made her presence known in every capacity, scoring 16 points, corralling 5 rebounds, handing out 3 assists, blocking 2 shots, and swiping a pair of steals. Destiny Kassner posted double-figures with 11 points while matching Amadea Pankey for a team-leading 7 boards. Others to aid Bryan in the win were Shayla Ludy with 8 points, Sarah Cain with 6 points, 4 assists, and 4 steals, Tristan McClellan with 4 points, and both Faith Simmons and Pankey with 2 points each.
Bryan shot 43.5 percent in the game after improving their 38 percent shooting in the first half to 49 percent in the second. The three-point shooting also improved, beginning at 25 percent through the initial two quarters and reaching 37 percent in the latter two frames. The Lions also took advantage of their frequent trips to the foul line, making 14-of-19. Bryan limited their turnovers to 7 while forcing the Skyhawks into 15. Point managed just 35 percent shooting in the contest, were 9-of-12 at the free-throw line, and were outrebounded by Bryan 45-38.
The Skyhawks struck first with two made foul shots one minute into the first quarter to lead 2-0, but Kassner and Combs countered with back-to-back treys to give the Lions a lead that was maintained for the rest of the night. Middle of the way through the frame Bryan led 15-6 before wrapping up the period on top 19-11. Hennessee scored in the paint on the Lions’ opening possession of the second quarter to establish Bryan’s first double-digit separation, 21-11. A pair of free throws by the Skyhawks briefly cut the deficit back to 8 points, 21-13, but the Lions fired back with a 6-0 run to lead 27-13. A three-pointer by Combs just under the five-minute mark extended Bryan’s difference to 17 points, 32-15, for their largest advantage of the first half. The slowing scored for both sides at the end of the second quarter with Cain hitting a basket with three minutes to play and Point scoring down low with under a minute on the clock, leaving Bryan ahead 34-22 at the break.
Both teams combined for 52 points scored in the third quarter alone, and even with the Skyhawks dropping in 22, the Lions clawed their way to 30 points, creating a 22-point gap after rattling off 10 straight points to begin the period. Ludy connected on a deep three with 2:31 to play, helping Bryan lead 64-35. Point finally responded and gained traction for a 9-0 run to close out the quarter 64-44, but Bryan wasted no time in ending all of their hopes, outscoring the Skyhawks 15-1 in the opening five minutes of the fourth. The Lions finished off the Skyhawks 85-63, improving their overall record to 25-1 and Appalachian Athletic Conference record to a spotless 21-0. Point’s overall record moved to an even 13-13 while their conference record dropped to 10-12.
The Lions are on the road this weekend at Montreat College (N.C.) for a 2 p.m. tip-off on Saturday before ending their regular-season at home with contests versus Milligan College (Tenn.) and Columbia College (S.C.) the 19th and 22nd.