The No. 23 Milligan College women’s basketball team used 31 points from former Elizabethton Lady Cyclone Sarah Robinson to take an 82-64 victory over Columbia College Sunday evening.
In its first meetings against all 10 Appalachian Athletic Conference opponents this season, Milligan (17-4, 11-1) has been victorious in all but one of them. The win Sunday also gave the Buffs their AAC-best eighth road win overall and was their eighth victory over Columbia in nine games. Milligan currently owns a two-game lead over the rest of the AAC.
Robinson finished with a career-high of 31 points on 13-21 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-5 from the free throw line, breaking her previous career high of 22 set back on Nov. 30. She became the first Buff to reach the 30-point mark since Hayley Wyrick on Feb. 27 of last season.
Allison Jones, meanwhile, reached 19 points for the third time in four games and now has scored 16 or more points in five straight games.
Robinson and Jones combined to score each of Milligan’s first 11 points of the game, and the two also had 22 of the Buffs’ 32 points at the half as four others entered the scoring column in the half.
A putback layup by Robinson and a score by Jones on Milligan’s first two possessions of the second half gave the Buffs the lead at 36-35, and ignited a 14-2 Milligan run to start the third quarter. The run made it 46-37. Every point during the run came from Robinson (10) and Jones (four), while Robinson added three boards and a steal during the run, and Jones had a steal and an assist.
The Koalas, however, responded with a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to get back in the game at 48-47. From there, Milligan outscored the Koalas 34-17 over the final 13 minutes of the game.
The first half was close throughout as neither team led by more than four points, a deficit Milligan faced five times in the first 20 minutes but had an answer for every time. The half also featured nine lead changes and nine ties as the two teams combined for 25 turnovers, 14 of which were committed by the Koalas. Additionally, both teams used hot shooting to keep the score tight as Columbia, who did not attempt a 3-pointer in the first half, was shooting over 50 percent from the field halfway through the second quarter. Milligan was over 47 percent at the same point.
With the Buffs trailing 10-6 early in the game, an and-one by Jones cut the margin down to one point, and a steal by Jones leading to a layup by Robinson put Milligan ahead 11-10 with three minutes to go in the first quarter.
Milligan responded immediately again. Down by four, Jones finished with a quick transition layup to turn a 25-21 deficit into a 25-23 score. After another Columbia score to make it a four-point margin yet again, Callie Cox scored to get Milligan back within one possession at 27-25 with just over four minutes to go in the first half.
With the Buffs down 31-27 near the two-minute mark in the opening half after two Koala free throws, Robinson answered with two free throws of her own. Columbia then hit two more free throws on its next possession before Jones grabbed an offensive rebound and scored again with one minute to go before halftime.
Robinson and Jones added eight and seven rebounds, respectively, to lead Milligan on the boards, and Lindsee Priceand Andi Lamb both added eight points.
Kennyatta Gilchrist led the Koalas with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds, while BriAna Johnson, the AAC’s fifth leading scorer, added 15 points and three assists.
Milligan will remain on the road for a Wednesday, Jan. 27, matchup with the Lady Cavaliers of Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina, at 5:30 p.m. The Buffs will return to the confines of the Steve Lacy Fieldhouse for back-to-back games against Truett-McConnell College and Bluefield College on Saturday, Jan. 30, at 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m., respectively.