Rio Grande made the ending more interesting than Pikeville had hoped, but the Bears showed their resilience and did what it must to defeat the RedStorm on Tuesday, 94-92.
The Bears led by as much as 20 late in the third quarter before Rio went on a super-hot shooting streak, making 14 of their 18 shots in the fourth, including six of nine three-point attempts to eventually tie the game with five seconds to go.
Sierra Feltner was then fouled quickly after the inbounds and made both of her free throws to give UPike the win. Feltner was an offensive force in the game, scoring a team-high 20 points on seven for 14 shooting. She also had three assists and grabbed two rebounds.
Three other Bears joined her in double figures in Kayla Mullins (12), Brianna Burbridge (11), and Mary Englert (10).
Despite both teams shooting at nearly the same clip for most of the game, Pikeville built its big lead thanks to its dominance in the turnover battle. UPike forced 19 turnovers that turned into 18 points, compared to Rio Grande’s seven points off turnovers.
Even though Pikeville kept forcing the issue, Kaylie Apperson and Sydney Holden of Rio Grande would not let their team go quietly.
Apperson hit 10 of her 11 shots, including a staggering seven of eight 3-point shots en route to a game-high 27 points. Holden took control in the interior by grabbing 10 rebounds to go with her 22 points.
The win was UPike’s first against Rio Grande since November of 2016 and helped secure the Bears’ second consecutive 5-0 start to the season.
UPike will head to southern Tennessee this weekend to take part in the MSC/SSAC Challenge. Pikeville will face Bethel on Friday and host Martin Methodist on Saturday in Pulaski, Tenn.