Blankenship steal in OT seals Concord women win over Bluefield State, 74-73

Nov. 16—ATHENS — The Concord University women's basketball team overcame a slow start as it took down Mercer County rival Bluefield State in overtime, 74-73, Wednesday night in a non-conference clash at the Carter Center.

Concord (1-2) once trailing by 18 points, 28-10, midway through the second quarter finished the first half on a 12-1 run to get the deficit to 32-26 at the break.

The Mountain Lions continued to chip away at the deficit and got within 45-44 in the final 30 seconds of the third quarter after a layup from graduate guard Nakaila Gray.

The momentum was unable to be carried over to the fourth quarter as Bluefield State (0-1) held Concord to five points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter and built a 59-49 lead.

Graduate forward Alexis Phillips led a 10-2 run by scoring half the points as Concord climbed within 61-59 with two minutes remaining. Four straight points from junior guard Skylar Davidson gave the Mountain Lions a 63-61 edge with 11 seconds remaining, but the Big Blue hit a game-tying layup before the final buzzer and forced overtime.

Neither team led by more than a point in the overtime session over the first 3:30. Two free throws from Gray pushed Concord ahead 72-71 with 41 seconds remaining. And a steal from Davidson and subsequent layup from senior guard Maddie Ratcliff gave Concord a three-point edge.

The Big Blues came back with a layup just 14 seconds later to trail by one with 18 seconds remaining. CU had a chance to put Bluefield State away at the foul line, but could not convert setting the stage for the final five seconds.

As Bluefield State went to pass on the block, Gray deflected the pass and senior guard Jazz Blankenship came up with the steal at the buzzer as CU hung on, 74-73.

Four Mountain Lions finished in double figures. Phillips paced the effort with 15 points and a career-best 16 rebounds. She added three steals and two blocks. Davidson notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Gray came off the bench for 13 points in 34 minutes while senior guard Jaisah Smith just missed a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Concord overcame a 31.3 percent shooting performance as it marched to the foul line for 28 makes. CU also came up with 60 rebounds (29 offensive, 31 defense). Defensively, CU held BSU to 35.2 percent from the floor.

The Mountain Lions begin Mountain East Conference play 2 p.m. Saturday versus Charleston at the Carter Center.