SALISBURY, N.C. – Despite junior Jasmine Franklin’s team-high 15 points and seventh game in double figures, Anderson University women’s basketball never held a lead for the game, as the Trojans fell 67-59 to Catawba in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon at Goodman Gymnasium.
After scoring just 15 points in her last four games, Franklin finished 7-of-9 from the floor, the most field goals made since dropping in eight in her 22 point performance against Lander in the second game of the season.
Following the forward was junior Lesley Woods with 10 points, while classmate Sierra Simpson, who came off the bench for the first time this season, finished with nine points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Franklin’s 15 was four points short of Catawba’s Mallary Clay, who finished with 18 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 night from the free throw line. Teammate Jelena Ciric tallied 13 points (4-for-4 from the field) while substitute Zhaquondalee Greer dropped in 12. While the AU defense allowed three Indians to score double digits, the Trojans contained Preseason All-SAC first team selections Antoinette McPhail and Chloe Bully to just eight and seven points, respectively. Bully finished the contest 2-for-12 from the field.
“This was a disappointing loss to a tough Catawba team,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “I was happy to see Jasmine Franklin have a good game and we look forward to playing LMU, hopefully correcting the things we didn’t do well today.”
With freshman Heather Jankowy and redshirt junior Emily Willoughby making their first starts of the season, Catawba jumped out early with a 10-4 lead, highlighted by four straight points from Greer. As Simpson and Franklin came off the bench, the Trojans mounted a quick comeback, bringing the score to 12-11 from a Franklin jumper.
Despite the momentum shift, Catawba broke away with a 12-2 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Ciric. For Ciric, the long range jumper would be her only field goal of the opening 20 minutes.
Facing their second 11-point deficit of the second half, the Trojans cut into the lead on an 11-5 run as Franklin fueled the run with five points. During the run in the last five minutes, the Lady Indians were just 2-of-9 from the field and Trojans trailed 32-27 at the break.
Sophomore Katie Davis started the second half with a lay-in to close the gap within three, but the deficit quickly jumped back to nine when Ciric knocked in her third 3-pointer of the game and second in the first three minutes of the second half.
Anderson came within three at the 12:01 mark when Jankowy put in a jumper, but AU’s small run was quickly setback to 10 as Ciric buried her final 3-pointer of the contest. The Trojans’ chance to make a comeback was limited by AU’s scoring drought from the 4:34 mark to within a minute of play. AU was 0-for-4 from the charity stripe in the span.
For the game, Anderson finished with a better shooting percentage than its counterpart, as the Trojans were 21-for-49 (42.9 percent) from the floor and 4-for-15 (26.7 percent) from behind the arc. The Lady Indians shot just 35 percent from the floor and 25 percent from 3-point range. With the better shooting performance, the Trojans produced their worst free throw percentage of the season, shooting 13-for-25 (52 percent) from the line.
On the boards, Catawba won the battle 42-38, headlined by 18 offensive rebounds by the Lady Indians.
“We can’t expect to win against good teams when we turned the ball over so many times and give up 18 offensive rebounds,” Garrity said. “We gave them too many second chances.”
Anderson returns to SAC action on Wednesday when it looks to avenge an earlier loss to Lincoln Memorial. Tip-off against the Lady Railsplitters is slated for 6 p.m.