GEORGETOWN, Texas – A huge second half propelled the Pirates to an 87-78 win over Hardin-Simmons University to open the season. Southwestern overcame a 14 point halftime deficit to take the win.
Hardin Simmons came out of the gate on the mission, building an 11-4 lead until Valerie Logan's three cut it to four, 11-7.
Back-to-back buckets off turnovers closed the gap but the Cowgirls hit the glass and used numerous second shots to pull ahead 36-22 with 9:11 remaining in the half.
Southwestern fought back and turned up their defense up a notch and pulled with ten points, 41-31, with 2:48 on the clock, but HSU closed the half on an 8-4 run to lead 49-35 at the break.
Hardin-Simmons shot 51.5% from the floor and 35.7% from long range while SU was held to 38.9% from the floor and 20% from three point range in the half. Kayla Brown had 12 points at the break to lead all scorers in the frame.
Southwestern came out of the locker room inspired and cut the lead to eight, 49-41, just one minute and thirty seconds into the second half. And, with 4:30 off the clock, SU had all but eliminated HSU's halftime lead, pulling within two 53-51. Forced turnovers and points in transition were the key to the run as the Pirates forced four turnovers and pulled down five rebounds in just under five minutes.
Southwestern pressed on, pushing their lead to eight, 80-72 with just under four minutes remaining in the game, by hitting the glass and posting a +2 rebounding margin and forcing 12 turnovers to that point in the second half.
Hardin-Simmons clawed back into the game and got within four points 80-76 with 2:40 left to play. McKamie Place's three with 1:28 left on the clock gave SU an eight point lead and allowed the Pirates to close out the game 87-78.
It was a role reversal in the second half as SU shot 57.9% from the field and 30% from three point range while holding HSU to just 30% from the field and long distance. The Pirates had five players in double figures, led by Chelsea Leeder's 16 points. Annie Bourne added in 14, Jordan Owens 13, Garcia 12 and Place 12. HSU's Jaclyn Von der heide posted 16 points to lead the Cowgirls.
Southwestern starts the season 1-0 and face Moravian at 7 pm on Saturday.