FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Methodist took advantage of a 19-point third quarter, separating itself from Salem by nine points in the process, which helped the Monarchs come away with a 63-52 win in a USA South Conference clash on Wednesday evening in Fayetteville, N.C.
Destiny Hardin led the Monarchs (2-8, 1-2 USA South) with 21 points, nine rebounds and five blocks. Hardin knocked down 8-of-15 field goal attempts and added another five points from the free throw line, while hauling in five offensive rebounds. Tyzarea Alexander also reached double figures with 16 points, converting 4-of-13 from the floor and 8-of-9 free throws, while pulling down 10 rebounds (seven offensive).
Salem (0-9, 0-3 USA South) was led offensively by the backcourt duo of Alize Brooks (22 points) and Sydney Bowen (12) as the Spirits finished 23-of-63 (36.5%) from the floor and 4-of-8 at the charity stripe. Brooks converted 50 percent (10-of-20) from the floor, while Bowen was successful on 4-of-17 from the field and 2-of-8 from beyond the arc. Bowen also came through with seven assists.
Three Spirits recorded nine rebounds, including Aubrey Slaughter, Lauren Privette and Cayla Harris. Salem finished with 45 total boards, including 12 on the offensive glass, highlighted by four from Priivette and three by Slaughter.
Salem streaked out to a 6-0 lead early in the opening frame, keyed by a series of buckets by Privette, Dionne Sampson and Bowen in succession. Brooks scored back-to-back baskets to keep the Spirits in front, who lead 12-8 at the close of the first quarter.
Brooks and Bowen, who drained a 3-pointer at the 7:54 mark of the second frame, provided Salem with a 17-10 lead. Successive baskets from Brooks and Harris allowed the Spirits to maintain their seven-point edge, 21-14, before a 6-0 run sliced the lead to one. The combination of Slaughter in the paint and Bowen from beyond the arc stretched the Salem lead to six, 26-20, but Methodist closed out the first half on a 12-4 run to take a 32-30 lead into the locker room.
Slaughter knotted the game at 32 at the 9:42 mark of the third quarter, but Methodist grabbed the 39-34 advantage following a timely 3-pointer by Jazanae Billings at the 4:50 mark. Hardin knocked down a layup and teammate Kadie Snipes drove home a 3-pointer with 1:55 in the frame, resulting in a 49-38 Monarch advantage. Brooks finished off third quarter scoring for Salem as the Monarchs led 51-40.
Brooks came through with the first four points of the fourth for Salem as the lead was cut to nine in the first five minutes of the fourth. Brooks added six points down the stretch, but Methodist completed its
The Spirits return to action following the holiday break on Dec. 30, facing Hollins at 7 p.m. For more information on Salem basketball check out www.salemspirits.com.