Strong Comeback Effort Leads PBA to Home Win Over Arkansas Fort Smith

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Athletic Communications

Lynsey Poole (Pictured, Right) Combined with Hayley Fields to Post Eight Straight Free-Throws Down the Stretch to Help Seal a 66-60 Win Over Arkansas-Fort Smith on Friday Evening. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards. Lynsey Poole (Pictured, Right) Combined with Hayley Fields to Post Eight Straight Free-Throws Down the Stretch to Help Seal a 66-60 Win Over Arkansas-Fort Smith on Friday Evening. Photo Courtesy of: Lori Richards.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- With final exams in their rear-view mirror and a nine day layoff since their last game to provide some rest, the Palm Beach Atlantic University women’s basketball team shook off their recent four game slide on Friday evening with a well-earned 66-60 win over the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. Hosting a small three-team tournament this weekend at the Rubin Arena, the Fish trailed by as many as 13 points before storming back for the six point victory.

Now 5-6 on the season with hopes of evening their season record on Saturday versus No. 24-ranked Shaw University, the Fish received a full team effort on Friday to earn the victory as four players reached double-figures in scoring .

Head coach Clarisse Garcia and her staff have been working hard to help lessen the team’s turnovers and work on getting more quality shots. That hard work paid off against the Lions (7-4) as the Fish forced UAFS into 23 turnovers while making just 15 on the PBA side.

Palm Beach Atlantic also reached double-digits in made 3-pointers as they netted 10 treys in 24 attempts for the game (41.7 percent).

A quick start for UAFS led to an early lead for the visitors as they pushed their early-game advantage to 12-5 on a pair of Katie BenAmor free-throws with 15:44 to play in the first period.

The Fish would then find their stroke from beyond the arc as a trio of 3-pointers came in a two minute stretch. Senior Jordan Kong dropped in two 3-pointers while junior Lynsey Poole added the other to push PBA on top for the first time at 16-14 with 12:26 to play in the half.

Just a minute later it would be the Lions who would find their touch from behind the three-point line as Monica Spearman drained back-to-back long baskets to give her team back the edge at 22-16.

The first-half advantage would grow to as many as 11 points for UAFS as a pair of Chelsea Sublett visits to the charity stripe put the Lions up 33-22. After a 3-pointer from PBA’s Hayley Fields drew the Fish back within single digits, another long ball from BenAmor with under 30 seconds left would soon follow as it lifted them back to an 11-point spread going into the break up 36-25.

The Fish sunk 6-of-12 shots from beyond the three-point arc in the first-half but struggled overall as they collected a 27.6 percent (8-29) overall shooting mark.

The strong inside play of 6’3” senior center Coby Hill paced the Lions attack as they shot 52.2 percent (12-23) with Hill leading the way with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field.

Kong led the Sailfish with 11 first-half points on 4-of-9 shooting including 3-of-5 from three-point land.

The second-half would begin with UAFS extending their lead to a game-high 13 points when Whitney Lee dropped in a bucket within five ticks of the second half beginning.

At this point the Fish would begin their assault on the lead, chipping away with pressure and some clutch baskets.

A 22-8 PBA run would ensue with the Fish finally taking their first lead of the second-half on a nifty basket underneath from senior Elizabeth Fugate that put the Fish on top by a 49-48 tally with 9:23 to go in the game.

Clinging to a small lead down the stretch, it wouldn’t be until Fields and Poole would work their way to the free-throw line in the final minutes that the Fish would secure the win. Fields and Poole combined to split the team’s final eight trips to the charity stripe where they swished home all eight opportunities for the win as UAFS was forced to start fouling.

Kong led the PBA scoring efforts on the night with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting while also distributing three assists.

Fields proved to be a big player once again off the bench with 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting including a solid 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Thanks to her gritty ball-handling and good work at the foul line, Poole finished with 13 points as she sank 6-of-8 from the line while adding in three assists and a pair of steals.

Selethia Jackson added in 10 points while junior Ashley Dolberry was big on the glass with 10 rebounds while adding in five points.

The Lions were led by a balanced scoring output as well with 14 points from Hill on 6-of-11 shooting while Lee and Vasha Sanders each added in 12 points.

Arkansas-Fort Smith will have Saturday off and complete their South Florida swing against Shaw University on Sunday, December 18th to close out the Sailfish Pre-Christmas Classic. The Fish will battle Shaw on Saturday at 5 pm with UAFS and Shaw set to match up on Sunday at 5 pm as well. Both games will have video coverage from the Sailfish Sports Network.

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