Radford University junior guard Khiana Johnson came up with a steal and go-ahead layup with 1:02 remaining and the Highlanders held on for a 61-57 victory against the Campbell Camels, on Saturday afternoon at the Dedmon Center. Radford, who tied a program-record with their 11th consecutive victory, improves to 19-6 overall and 13-1 in the conference.
“In some ways we were lucky to get this win,” said Highlander head coach Mike McGuire. “Campbell played exceptionally well as they are a very well coached team. On the flip side our kids just kind of battled. I’m not sure that I have been a part of a game where your team only gets three field goals in the second-half and still finds a way to win. We had to gut this one out and our kids showed a lot of heart down the stretch.”
Lydia Rivers produced a team-high 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and also went 6-for-7 from the foul line to pace Radford. The Big South’s leading rebounder also grabbed nine boards in 33 minutes of action. Johnson finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two enormous steals. Senior guard/forward Destinee Walker added 10 points and played all 40 minutes.
The Highlanders shot 32.1 percent (17-of-53) from the floor but went 25-of-35 (71.4 percent) from the line and outscored the Camels by 20 points on the foul line. Radford also outscored the visitors by a 26-12 count in point off turnovers.
Campbell (16-10, 8-7 Big South) took their biggest lead of the second-half, 54-48, after Taya Bolden converted a layup with 4:11 left in the contest. The Highlanders, however, showed tremendous toughness down the stretch as they outscored the Camels by a 13-3 margin to close the game.
Rivers swished a pair from the charity-stripe with 3:22 left to cut the deficit to 54-50 and then sank two more at the 2:47 mark to bring the hosts within two. Redshirt junior forward Savannah Felgemacher then came up with a key steal that resulted in two more free throws by Walker to knot the score at 54-54 with 2:21 on the clock.
Lauren Carter drilled a right-wing trey on the next possession to put Campbell back in front, 57-54 with 2:04 remaining.
On the next possession, Walker came up with a big offensive rebound and made 1-of-2 from the line at the 1:46 mark to cut the deficit to two, and then Johnson followed with a steal that also resulted in her making 1-of-2 from the stripe.
Trailing 57-56, Johnson picked Hayley Barber’s (22 points) pocket and raced down the floor for the game-winning bucket with 1:02 left.
Carter misfired on a 3-pointer with forty-two ticks remaining and Walker secured the key rebound for the Highlanders. Johnson eventually hit both of her free throw attempts with 14 seconds left to make it 60-57.
The visitors had one last chance to even the contest but Caroline Brown’s long-range attempt with six seconds left was off the mark and Felgemacher snared the rebound. She was immediately fouled and converted one-of-two from the line to put the game away.
The Highlanders led 14-3 to open the contest but the Camels eventually moved ahead, 28-27, with 4:25 left in the first half.
Rivers converted a layup with fifty-seconds left before the break and redshirt junior center Sydney Nunley converted a pair from the line with one second left to spot Radford a 32-29 halftime advantage.