The Panthers are now 16-4 overall, 11-2 in league action. Averett drops to 10-10 overall, 6-7 in conference play.
Jacole Hairston scored seven of Ferrum’s first 11 points to give the visitors a 5-point lead early on. AU held the Panthers scoreless over the next five minutes to tie the game at 11 after a free throw by Kyana Smith.
The Cougars pushed their advantage to 22-17 at the 9:31 mark following a Shannon Smith jumper. The Black and Gold responded by outscoring Averett 19-13 the rest of the first frame to grab a 36-35 lead heading into break.
The Panthers connected on 14-of-28 (50 percent) of their shots in the opening stanza led by Hairston, who was a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor on her way to 12 points at intermission.
Ferrum came out of halftime on fire, extending its lead to eight, 47-39 with 16:23 left in the contest. AU responded with a 12-2 run to reclaim the lead, 51-49, with 13:17 showing on the clock.
The Cougars extended their lead to 61-53 with 8:44 left in the game. However, Hairston, Keith, and Akers converted back-to-back-to-back baskets to make it 61-59 with less than eight minutes to play.
Hairston hauled in a baseball pass from Shea Smith and finished a fast-break layup to give the Panthers a 62-61 lead with 6:34 left. Kayla Goins dialed up a trey at the 3:18 mark to cap a 14-0 run to push the lead to 67-61.
After a pair of Akers free throws, Averett’s Mette Scheiman nailed a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to trim the Ferrum lead to 71-68. Akers and Hairston made four free throws in the waning seconds to seal the Panthers’ third-straight win.
The Black and Gold shot 46 percent for the game, while holding the Cougars to 34 percent. Ferrum, the nation’s leader in assists per game, dished out 19 dimes.
Hairston finished with a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting to lead the Panthers. Kristen Keith finished with her third double-double of the season, registering 11 points and 12 rebounds. Goins also reached double-figure scoring with 11 points.
Liz Martin finished with a team-high 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for AU. Scheiman, who became the Cougars' all-time leader for 3-pointers made with her last trey of the game, finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Smith also had a double-double for the hosts, scoring 12 points and hauling in 10 caroms.
Coach Bryan Harvey’s club is back in action tomorrow afternoon for a clash of USA South titans inside Swartz Gymnasium on Super Bowl Sunday. League-leading Christopher Newport University comes to town for a USA South doubleheader beginning with the women’s game at 2 p.m.