RADFORD, Va. - A three-pointer in the closing seconds by Radford's Ayana Avery helped host Radford hold off visiting Charleston Southern on Monday night as the Buccaneers battled their way throughout the second half before coming up short in the 53-51 Big South Conference matchup.
CSU and Radford battled through a tightly-contested second half as neither team took more than a three-point advantage with the teams trading the lead four times and tying it up six times before Tatum Jarvis knotted the game for the Bucs with a jumper to tie the score at 50-50 with 55 seconds remaining. Alecia Hardy put CSU ahead on their next trip down the court, hitting the first of two free throw attempts with 28 seconds to put the Bucs ahead by one.
Following a Radford timeout, Avery drilled her only shot of the second half as the Highlanders' senior connected on the go-ahead three-pointer with nine seconds left. Hardy raced down the court and put up the layup attempt with three ticks left but her shot went wide as the Bucs fell to the host Highlanders.
Natasha Lebedeva led the Buccaneers with a career-high 15 points as the senior forward from Moscow, Russia converted 7-of-9 attempts from the free throw line in the contest. Fellow senior Alise Karlsone added nine points and nine rebounds, while Tatum Jarvis had nine points off the bench for the Bucs as CSU shot 33.3% from the floor as a team in the game.
Charleston Southern falls to 3-9, 0-4 in Big South play with the loss, while Radford improves to 5-8, 2-2 in conference play with the win inside the Dedmon Center on Monday night.
The second half went back and forth between the two teams as neither team held more than a one possession led following Radford going up 33-28 with 16:52 to play on Janayla White's layup. Alyssa Mann answered with a three-pointer to cut the deficit down to two and Karlsone drilled her third three-pointer of the contest to give CSU the 34-33 lead with 13:29 remaining.
Radford went back ahead on a pair of Jayda Worthy free throws and the Highlanders continued to press their advantage as RU outscored the Bucs 16-6 in the paint in the second half. CSU tied the game up five times in the second half as Mann drilled her second three-pointer of the half at the 11:23 mark and Lebedeva followed up with a layup and hit the free throw attempt following the foul to knot the game up at 44-44 with 9:13 left.
Jarvis tied the game up twice, going up for the fast-break layup at the 5:36 mark and connected on a jumper with 55 seconds remaining, leading up to the final minute scramble.
CSU took their largest lead of the game early in the contest as Lebedeva scored the Bucs first four points before Mann hit a jumper in the paint to give CSU the 6-3 advantage at the 14:50 mark in the first half. The Highlanders responded with a 16-5 run capped by Jayda Worthy's layup gave Radford their largest lead of the game at 19-11.
Radford held the five point lead at 21-16 with 4:48 to play in the first half before the Bucs rallied back behind a Karlsone three-pointer on the break and Hardy's layup to put the score at 21-21. CSU closed out the first half with a jumper from Jarvis in the paint to send the teams into the break tied 28-28.
White led the Highlanders with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Avery added eight points and two three-pointers in the win.
Charleston Southern returns to the Buc Dome on Thursday night as CSU hosts High Point in Big South Conference play. Tipoff between the Bucs and the Panthers is set for 7 p.m. on the Big South Network.