DANVILLE, Va. – In its last game of 2018, the Randolph College women's basketball team dropped an 81-80 heartbreaker to host Averett University on Sunday afternoon in the Grant Center.
Solid shooting from the Cougars in the first quarter placed them ahead of Randolph, 18-12, heading into the second period of game play. The WildCats managed to trim the deficit to 19-18 off of a 6-0 run capped off by Dominique Jackson (Greensboro, N.C./Ben L. Smith). As time ran down, Averett remained in the lead with Randolph close on its tail before Jackson leveled the score to 29-all on a made jump shot at the 2:41 mark. Kalyn Banks (Clinton, Md./From the Heart Christian School) followed with a layup to make it a 31-29 margin for Randolph, handing the WildCats their first lead of the game. The Cougars would even the score shortly after but it would be Randolph heading into half-time with a 32-31 edge.
Coming out of the break, the WildCats continued to increase their point gap, pushing a 10-0 run for a 42-31 margin at the 7:54 mark. However, Averett slowly chipped away at Randolph's lead, eventually trimming the deficit to 50-49 before leveling the playing field to 50-all with 2:02 remaining in the third period. The WildCats called a brief timeout to regroup but would end up trailing the Cougars, 55-53, heading into the final quarter.
As the fourth period was underway, Randolph made quick work of cutting the Cougars' lead to 57-56 before eventually evening the score to 61-all off of a 3-pointer by Mikayla Sink (Lexington, N.C./Central Davidson) with 7:05 left to play. A pair of made free throws by Banks placed Randolph in the lead, 63-61, before a fast-break play from Yanessa Cabrera (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson) extended the WildCats' advantage to 65-61. Randolph continued to build its lead, holding a 77-72 margin with 2:02 remaining on the clock.
Averett sliced the score to 78-77 before making it a 78-all game with just 30 seconds remaining. Although the Cougars briefly jumped ahead with a 79-78 lead, a layup from Jackson poised the WildCats to take the win with a slim 80-79 margin with only six seconds left in game play. However, after a brief timeout called by the Cougars, Averett made the necessary bucket to clinch the final 81-80 score.
In spite of the loss, the WildCats held the Cougars to a 37.5 (30-of-80) field goal percentage while shooting 43.5 (30-of-69) percent from the floor and 71.4 (15-of-21) percent from the line. Randolph also ended the game with 36 points in the paint, 14 fast break points, and converted 23 points off turnovers while the Cougars held a 60-35 edge in rebounds and recorded 16 points off the bench.
Jackson paced the WildCats with 24 points, adding a team-high four steals. Banks and Sink both concluded the game with 17 points each, with Sink making 4-of-6 shots from 3-point range and Banks chipping in three blocks. Cabrera collected 13 points and posted a team-high seven assists to go along with three steals. Elizabeth Ellen (Mechanicsville, Va./Hanover) pulled down a team-high eight rebounds in the loss while Sara Bane (Blue Ridge, Va./Lord Botetourt) finished the day with a season-best four assists.
The WildCats drop to 3-8 on the season and are back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 2 when they travel to Virginia Wesleyan University for a 7 p.m. conference contest.