AUGUSTA, Ga. – After falling behind by eight with just 9:16 to play, the University of South Carolina Aiken women's basketball team used a 25-12 run to secure a 60-55 victory at GRU Augusta Wednesday evening in a Peach Belt Conference contest.
The Pacers are now 10-17 overall and 8-10 in conference play.
With the win, USC Aiken secured a spot in the upcoming PBC Tournament.
After leading the entire first half, the Pacers found themselves stagnant at 35 points as GRU Augusta went on a 16-0 run to take a 43-35 lead. However, head coach Mike Brandt's team fought back, whittling the deficit over the next few minutes.
Down 45-37, Porsha Martin hit a lay-up off a nifty pass from Kate Duff with 7:34 to play. The team forced a turnover and Amaura Brandt converted two free throws, slicing the deficit to four at the 7:12 mark.
Mackenzie Reese buried two charity tosses to make it a two-point game before Mariah Durian dropped to the corner, took a pass and drained a three-point shot for a 46-45 lead.
Down by one with 3:05 to go, Martin answered with a twisting lay-up between three defenders. She absorbed the contact and made a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play.
It was a lead Brandt's team would not give up the rest of the way. Courtney Mealing connected on a three-pointer and although the Jaguars would pull within three, the Pacers quickly answered with six straight points to put the game away.
With just 16 seconds left on the clock, Brandt cleared the bench so everyone could see time in the win that secured the postseason berth.
Leading the way for USC Aiken was Martin, who was a rebound shy of a double-double. She tallied a game-high 16 points to go along with a game-best nine boards. Durian netted 14 points while Mealing and Reese each went for 10. Reese accounted for eight rebounds. Brandt chipped in eight markers in the victory.
For the contest, the Pacers netted 35.6 percent of their attempts from the floor while the Jaguars made 32.8 percent. USC Aiken hit six three-point shots while limiting the home team to a three-for-13 performance from downtown. Brandt's team secured the victory with superb foul shooting, canning 22-of-25 for the game for 88 percent.
The Pacers return to action Saturday on Senior Day. USC Aiken hosts UNC Pembroke. The team will honor Porsha Martin in a ceremony. Earlier in the day, the Convocation Center will be used as a world-record attempt for the largest game of Knockout will take place starting at 1 p.m.