ANDERSON, S.C. – Unable to hang on to its 28-21 halftime lead in the final 20 minutes, Anderson University women’s basketball dropped its second straight game to Lincoln Memorial this season, 62-58, in South Atlantic Conference action Wednesday evening at the Abney Athletic Center.
Despite the hot-handed Sierra Simpson pouring in a career-high 18 points, the Trojan defense was unable to stop Simpson’s counterpart, Aisjah Roan, who finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds in 36 minutes to record her second double-double of the season. LMU senior MaRanda Boddie, a Preseason All-SAC Second Team honoree, dropped in a game-high 16 points and junior Katrina Ottesen added 12 as the trio combined for 63 percent of Lincoln Memorial’s scoring.
For AU, Simpson was followed by freshman guard Heather Jankowy with 12 points, which breaks her original career-high of nine points, set in the first meeting between the teams. Finishing just 2-for-9 from the floor, Jankowy’s night was headlined by a 7-for-7 performance from the free throw line. Classmate Alexis Dillard found herself in foul trouble for the majority of the contest, but grabbed eight rebounds in 22 minutes.
“I was proud of our effort tonight,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “I have to give a lot of credit to Lincoln Memorial. They came into Abney and made some big plays at key moments in the game. Unfortunately for us, we just left too many points out there.”
Despite the four-point setback, it was Anderson that started quickly in the opening period. The Trojans caught fire and began the game on a 17-5 run, capped off a 3-pointer from Jankowy, her only trey of the game, in front of the Lincoln Memorial bench.
Anderson would continue its attack and take its second 12-point advantage off a missed jumper by Roan. The Trojans quickly scurried down the floor and Simpson finished the fast break with an open lay-up, handing AU a 21-9 lead.
After the bucket, the Lady Railsplitters clawed back and cut the AU lead to four twice in the remaining minutes. With a Roan free throw sending the game to 23-19 at the 2:22 mark, the Trojans outscored LMU 5-2 to go into halftime, leading 28-21. At the half, Simpson was the only player to record double figures with 10 points.
After junior Lesley Woods dropped in one of her two 3-pointers to open the second period, Lincoln Memorial went on a 9-0 over the next two minutes to chip away at the Anderson advantage. LMU’s Samantha Satterlee closed the quick run with her only 3-pointer of the contest from the wing to bring the score to 31-30.
Despite Woods burying another trey and Simpson followed with a jumper, the Lady Railsplitters started another devastating run over the next three minutes. LMU scored 10 straight points and took its first lead of the game when Ottesen connected on a 3-pointer, moving the score to 37-36, in favor of the visitors, with 13:58 left.
Lincoln Memorial would eventually taking its largest lead of the run at 42-38, but the Trojans stormed back and evened the score when Simpson dropped in a turnaround jumper from 10-feet away to notch a traditional 3-point play. Simpson’s free throw would give AU back the lead at 43-42.
Over the next seven minutes, neither team would hold a lead of more than three as the lead changed seven times throughout the final stanza. After LMU’s Kalasia Green dropped in a pair of free throws with 55 seconds remaining to give the Lady Railsplitters a 59-56 advantage, Woods responded with a quick lay-up, bringing the Trojans within one with 50 seconds left.
Ottesen increased the LMU lead to three once again, firing in a runner in the lane with 18 seconds left, as the ensuing Trojan possession came up empty. A late free throw by Roan would close out the four-point SAC victory, as Lincoln Memorial earns the season sweep over the Trojans.
The Lady Railsplitters out-rebounded AU 49-39 and held the Trojans to 29.7-percent from the field. The percentage marks the first time this season the Trojans have shot below 30-percent for a game.
“We missed some shots we normally make and we didn’t shoot the ball very well from the free throw line,” Garrity said. “We will remain positive and look forward to rebounding from this loss as we head into the weekend.”
In the series, Anderson took all three meetings a season ago, including a conference tournament quarterfinal win at the Abney Center. LMU now holds its first winning streak over the Trojans since AU joined the SAC prior to the 2010 season. With the narrow setback, the Trojans record their first three-game losing skid for the first time since the end of the 2011-12 season when they dropped four straight to close the year.
The Black and Gold look to return to their winning ways on Saturday when they welcome SAC newcomer Coker. Tip-off from the Abney Center is set for 2 p.m.