BREVARD, N.C. – With four players in double figures, the Anderson women’s basketball team survived a late scoring drought and opened a two-game South Atlantic Conference road swing by holding off Brevard, 57-54, Saturday afternoon at Boshamer Gymnasium.
Trojan senior guard Alissa Diaz’s lone 3-pointer of the afternoon with 3:20 left in the game provided the winning margin as Anderson (13-5, 7-1 SAC) went the remaining three-plus minutes without scoring.
The Trojans kept pace with league co-leader Lenoir-Rhyne, which rallied for a nine-point road win past Mars Hill, while AU won its sixth straight and 11th in the last 13 outings. The six-game win streak is the longest of the season for the Trojans, while Brevard slipped to 4-12 overall and 2-6 in the conference with its third consecutive setback.
Diaz led four Trojans in double figures with 14 points and shared game-high honors with five assists. The 5-foot-10 guard also recorded two blocked shots. Sophomore guard Sierra Simpson tallied 13 points, while sophomore guard Lesley Woods added 12 points. Senior forward Breonda Shannon notched her fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Brevard freshman guard Tuccoa Brackett led all scorers with 18 points, while senior guard Tempestt Mack chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds.
The first half alone featured five ties and eight lead changes, with neither team able to build more than a six-point lead through the opening 20 minutes.
With the score tied at 14 apiece at the 11:05 mark of the first half, the Trojans went on a 9-3 run to push out to a 23-17 advantage with just more than five minutes left before intermission. Simpson sparked the surge with a jumper and Shannon capped the outburst with her eighth point of the half.
But the Tornados answered with eight unanswered points to close the half with an 8-2 run of their own and the teams went to the break tied at 25-25.
A 7-2 run by AU over a two-minute span in the second stanza propelled the Trojans to their largest lead of the contest, at 47-38, with 11:16 remaining, but Brevard countered with an 11-2 run to even the score for the eighth time of the contest, 49-49, at the 6:37 mark. Diaz triggered another Trojan surge with a traditional three-point play and followed a Simpson layup with her 3-pointer that gave Anderson a 57-49 cushion with 3:20 left.
Brackett dropped in a pair of free throws and senior guard Michaela Watkins added three points inside the final 90 seconds to pull the Tornados within three with 46 seconds on the clock. Brevard fouled Anderson’s Tilde Ahlin with 38 seconds on the clock, and the senior forward, who was 8-of-10 from the line on the season, misfired on the front end of the one-and-one. AU’s Simpson corralled the offensive rebound to give the Trojans possession.
Following a 30-second timeout, Simpson was unable to convert the basket with just eight seconds remaining, but Brackett missed on a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
The Trojans mark the halfway point of their league round-robin schedule by traveling to co-league-leading Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday. Anderson will be attempting to avenge its lone setback in conference action, as the Bears edged AU, 63-62, in early January at the Abney Athletic Center.