LaGrange fell to conference-leading Piedmont 58-51 in Mariotti Gym on Wednesday. The Panthers are now 10-5 overall and 4-2 in the USA South.
"This was a really good college basketball game tonight against two good teams," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "Unfortunately, Piedmont got the better of us. They are tough to guard and they do a good job defensively.
"We seemed out of sync all night. Our strength is defense and we just didn't do a good job of guarding them."
Piedmont (12-4, 7-0 USA South) led 27-23 at halftime. The lead swapped hands four times in the first half. Johnson's two free throws tied the game at 20, before Mary Kate Rushton's 3-pointer gave the Lady Lions their four point lead.
Jatasia Bailey's trey put Piedmont ahead to stay as the Lady Lions led 43-41 after three quarters. The Panthers fell behind by as many as nine in the final quarter, but crept within four, 55-51, after a 3 from Riley Chlupacek with 1:25 left. But the Lady Lions sank three free throws to seal the win.
The Panthers play at Greensboro on Saturday and at Methodist on Sunday in USA South games.
"We must regroup and get ready for the next game," said Buchanan. "In this league, you have to have a short memory, win or lose because there is always another game to be played."