WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Salem's Aubrey Slaughter enjoyed her second double-double of the season (16 rebounds, 12 points), but it was a 24-point outburst by Mary Baldwin's Demet Saygili that proved to be the difference as the Fighting Squirrels emerged with a 77-56 victory over Salem in Varsity Gym in USA South Conference play on Sunday afternoon.
Slaughter tied Shenell Pharr for the team-high in scoring by knocking down 5-of-14 from the floor and 2-of-4 free throw attempts. The first year post player climbed the defensive glass for 12 of her 16 total rebounds. Meanwhile, Pharr came off the bench to knock down 4-of-12 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers, along with converting 2-of-2 at the charity stripe.
Sydney Bowen also reached double figures with 10 points, hitting 4-of-8 from the floor, including a pair of 3-pointers. Lauren Privette was responsible for double figure rebounds (11) as she snagged seven on the defensive end for Salem, which slipped to 0-12 on the season and 0-5 in USA South Conference play.
Salem, which finished 23-of-67 from the floor in the contest, had its seventh game of the season of shooting at least 34 percent (34.3). The Spirits were 5-of-15 from 3-point range, tying their single-game season-high.
Mary Baldwin (6-6, 2-3 USA South) capped off its sixth win of the slate by hitting 30-of-91 (33%) from the floor. Joining Saygili in double figures was the trio of Brooke Anders (16 points), Codie Heilig (13) and Nicole Maloon (10). Cauy Duboise led the way for the Fighting Squirrels in rebounds, finishing with 12, including a team-best eight on the defensive glass.
Mary Baldwin used its defensive pressure and points in transition to quickly extended its 33-31 lead at the intermission to six in the third. However, Bowen drove home a timely 3-pointer to kick start the Salem offense. The Fighting Squirrels countered with a 14-5 run, which included a pair of treys by Heilig and Anders, as they moved in front 53-39 at the close of the third.
With its offense clicking on all cylinders in the late stages of the third, Mary Baldwin opened up a 66-39 advantage in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer from the corner by Saygili. Slaughter ended the seven-minute scoring drought for the Spirits with a layup to make for a 66-41 contest. Salem capitalized on three points from both Slaughter and Alize Brooks to cut the margin to 17, 66-49 with 4:19 remaining. The Fighting Squirrels stretched the margin back to 20, with Salem receiving four points from Slaughter down the stretch.
The Spirits streaked out to a 7-0 lead in the game, using a 3-pointer by Dionne Sampson and timely buckets by Slaughter and Privette to establish the lead. Moving in front 9-4, following a bucket by Shenique Pharr, Salem surrendered a 3-pointer to Brooke Anders. Sampson drove home her second shot of the contest, assuming the 11-7 edge, but seven unanswered Mary Baldwin points, including five from the free throw line, provided the Fighting Squirrels with a three-point lead.
The two units played at a frantic pace throughout the second quarter, combining for 44 shots, as Mary Baldwin built a 26-16 lead just over three minutes into the frame. A series of buckets by Bowen, Shenell Pharr and Sampson quickly trimmed the deficit to four, 26-22, with 4:01 remaining. The Fighting Squirrels moved back in front by nine, 33-24, but a 3-pointer by Shenell Pharr along with layups by Privette and Brooks resulted in a two-point halftime lead for the visitors.
The Spirits return to the court on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when they head to Greensboro for a clash with The Pride at 7 p.m. in Hanes Gym. For more information on Salem basketball check out www.salemspirits.com.