Win tastes sweeter this time of year for the highlanders

Photo courtesy of RU Athletics
Janayla White had 13 points on four nine from the field for the Radford University’s women’s team in a big win over Charleston Southern.

Radford avenged its mid-January loss to Charleston Southern in comeback fashion as the Highlanders overcame a 17-point deficit to force overtime and keep intact the 12-game home winning streak with a 67-59 victory on Radford’s annual Play4Kay game, Saturday afternoon inside the Dedmon Center.

The 17-point comeback win is the largest deficit by the Highlanders since a 15-point comeback against High Point in the 2016 Big South Tournament Quarterfinals.

Charleston Southern built its 17-point lead out of a 13-9 edge at the end of the opening quarter. The Buccaneers scored 14 straight points to end the first and open the second quarter. The 14 consecutive points highlighted a 19-4 run that pushed the Highlander deficit to 28-11 with 4:08 remaining in the first half.

Destinee Walker ended the run at the 3:42 mark with a fast break three-pointer off a steal. The Walker basket sparked a 11-3 Radford run as Janayla White added five points during the run, cutting the deficit to 30-22 at the half. Radford’s run was created by seven Buccaneer turnovers in which the Highlanders tallied 10 points off.

The Highlanders turned the ball over 14 times in the first half as Charleston Southern scored 14 points off the miscues.

Coming out of halftime, the third quarter belonged to the Highlanders as they used a 22-12 edge in the quarter to take a 44-42 lead. After Charleston Southern pushed its lead back to double-digits in the opening minutes of the half, Radford used a 9-0 run as Sydney Nunley flexed her muscles on a three-point play that brought the Highlander faithful to their feet.

Claudia Quevedo and Jen Falconer knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to end the third quarter, handing Radford its first lead since the 7:24 mark in the opening quarter.

Radford built a five-point advantage in the fourth quarter on consecutive layups by Jayda Worthy and Nunley. The lead was short lived as Charleston Southern used baskets by Jasmine Blackmon and Ke’Asia Jackson to knot the game at 49 with 1:53 remaining.

The two foes traded baskets over the final minute, before Quevedo sliced through the Buc defense to give Radford a 53-51 advantage with 32.8 seconds remaining. Following two missed free throws by Khiana Johnson, Charleston Southern had a chance to tie the game or go for the win with just under 13 seconds remaining.

After calling a timeout to advance the ball, Jackson got a tough layup to fall as the Bucs forced overtime.

Radford opened overtime with a 10-2 run and White added six of her 13 points in the overtime period as the Highlanders pushed their lead to eight points. Following a Worthy layup off a Falconer assist to push Radford’s lead to 61-55 with 1:19 remaining, both teams held one another without a field goal as the contest turned into a free throw battle.

The Highlanders went 6 for 8 from the charity stripe in the final minute to secure the 67-59 comeback victory.

The 17-point comeback is the second on the week for the Highlanders. Radford found itself down 31-14 in the second quarter on Tuesday against Liberty. The Highlanders battled back to take a 44-43 lead in the fourth quarter, eventually falling 49-48.

Radford’s last win in a comeback of this magnitude came on March 11, 2016 in the big South Tournament quarterfinals. The Highlanders overcame a 15-point deficit for a 72-57 win.

The win improves Radford’s home record to 10-0 and its streak to 12 consecutive home wins. The Highlanders last home loss came on Jan. 30, 2016 in a 54-46 loss to UNC Asheville.

Radford is 35-18 inside the Dedmon Center under head coach Mike McGuire.

With the win, Radford has collected double-digit home wins in three consecutive seasons, marking the first time since 1991-94.

Radford improves to 5-1 on the season when coming off a loss.

The last overtime game played inside the Dedmon Center came in the first game of the 2015-16 campaign as the Highlanders squeaked out a 66-63 victory over George Mason on Nov. 13, 2015.

Destinee Walker had led the Highlanders in points 15 times on the season and has scored double-figures in 19 games. Walker finished with 15 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Janayla White finished with 13 points on four of nine shooting, including a five of six performance from the free throw line. White had been held to eight points in her last three games.

White’s last game in double-figures (12) came on Jan. 24 against Liberty. She finished with nine rebounds and four steals. The four steals match a season high.

Jayda Worthy narrowly missed her sixth double-double on the season with a seven-point, 11-rebound performance. Six Highlanders finished with six-plus points in the game. Jen Falconer and Sydney Nunley contributed nine points apiece.

Falconer corralled a season-high seven rebounds, matching a career best. She finished with three assists, giving her nine games of three-plus assists on the season. The redshirt freshman collected her first career block in the win. Radford won the rebound battle 45-27 with 16 rebounds coming on the offensive glass.

In two games against Charleston Southern, Radford collected 40 offensive rebounds. Radford holds a 13-4 record with controlling the paint. The Highlanders added 28 points in the paint. The Highlanders added 13 fast break points and scored 21 points off 16 turnovers.

Rachel Burns and Alyssa Mann finished with 16 points each. Radford’s defense held Big South leading scorer Ke’Asia Jackson scoreless for the first half as the sophomore was held to eight points.

“I think this was a typical week when you get deep into conference play. We had a very challenging week with games against Liberty and Charleston Southern. I like our fight right now and the willingness to compete, while trying to find a way to win. To be down 17 points on your home floor and comeback to win says a lot about the heart of this group. This is the type of heart we need the rest of the season,” said Radford head coach Mike McGuire.


— Courtesy of RU Athletics