Late heroics vaults CRC to league-opening win

Crowley’s Ridge College’s Lady Pioneers defeated Lincoln Christian 78-68 on Thursday. Their game today with Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.) University in Paragould is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.

LINCOLN, Ill. — A Lincoln Christian (Ill.) University Lady Red Lion layup with 5:11 remaining in Crowley’s Ridge College’s first Continental Athletic Conference matchup of the season had the hosting Lady Red Lions knot the game at 60-60.

The Lady Pioneers would explode on an 18-8 run in the waning minutes to escape Illinois with a 78-68 victory on Thursday.

Crowley’s Ridge (6-8, 1-0 CAC) worked with a depleted lineup that was bolstered by the strong play of reigning CAC Player of the Week Lindsey Browning. The freshman tallied her third double-double of the year with a season-high 23 points. The first quarter, however, was headlined by fellow freshman Lotti Hoffman’s seven points. The Marmaduke native hit back-to-back 3s to start the scoring, but Lincoln Christian (2-9, 0-1 CAC) would push late to end the first quarter tied 16-16.

The Lady ‘Neers continued their 3-point barrage in the second quarter, with Leah Still hitting both of her long balls before the intermission. Despite being out-rebounded 29-21 in the first half, CRC held a 29-27 edge at the break.

As has been the case all year, the girls in green saved their best roundball for the final 20 minutes of play, scoring 22 points in the third quarter. Unfortunately, as has also been the case all year, the opposition saves their best for the end with Lincoln Christian totaling 25 third-quarter points to move into the last quarter down by a lone point 53-52.

Late free throws coupled with high-percentage shooting in the fourth quarter vaulted CRC to the victory. In the quarter, the Lady ‘Neers were 7-9 from the free-throw line, while shooting 47.4 percent from the floor in the last 10 minutes, only attempting one 3-pointer.

Browning led the charge with 23 points and 18 rebounds, both career benchmarks for the Viola native. Hoffman followed with 18 points, with Travia Woodruff completing her night with 16.

Crowley’s Ridge will hope to squeeze in another conference game in Paragould, hosting Haskell Indian Nations (Kan.) University today (Saturday, Jan. 15). The original tipoff has been bumped up two hours due to possible winter weather, and will now begin at 11 a.m.

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