ANDERSON, S.C. – Led by sophomore Jennifer Monroe’s second double-double of her career and junior Lesley Woods’ 100th career 3-point field goal, Anderson University women’s basketball fell just short of a comeback bid, falling to South Atlantic Conference newcomer Coker 72-66 Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
Monroe polished off the game with 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in her first game recording over 30 minutes of her career. For the game, the sophomore finished 7-for-14 from the floor and dropped in three free throws to go along with a block. Woods, who needed three 3-pointers to reach 100 before today, closed the contest with four to give her 14 points on the day. The 14 points marks the second time in three games the junior has scored in double figures.
On the opposite side, Coker’s Tanesha Stenson matched Monroe’s double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Cobra attack. After scoring just five points in the opening 20 minutes, Stenson led all scorers in the final stanza with 13 points and pulled down six rebounds, playing the entire period. Joining Stenson in double figures was junior Kelley Godbout with 14 points and six rebounds and classmate Hailey Yohn with 11. Godbout and Yohn combined for six made 3-pointers in over 30 minutes played between the tandem.
The setback snaps a consecutive streak of 19 straight victories over Coker, as the Cobras add their first win over the Trojans since Jan. 14, 1998. The loss drops Anderson to 7-7 on the season and two games below .500 in SAC play at 3-5.
“This was another tough loss today,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “I was proud of our effort, especially in second half. Our players are playing extremely hard and I told them to keep up that effort and remain positive and good things will happen. I reminded them that when you win, it doesn’t mean you’re doing everything right. By the same token, when you lose it, it doesn’t mean you’re doing everything wrong.”
Both teams jumped out of the gates quickly to begin the game as a combined 29 points were scored in the first eight minutes of play with Anderson holding a small advantage at 15-14. After a Lyric Levester jumper cut the lead to one for Coker, Monroe answered with put-back off a Katie Davis miss, sending Anderson back up by 3.
After the basket, the Cobras found some momentum when Patricia Sullivan scored on a lay-in after she was fouled in the lane by Davis. After Sullivan knocked in the free throw, Coker began a 10-3 run giving the visitors a four-point advantage with 7:39 left.
The Trojans would answer the run with a Woods trey, but was unable to take the lead back for the remainder of the game. Monroe brought the Trojans back within two at the 3:30 mark with a lay-in, but the Cobras answered with a 7-0 run to close out the opening half at 39-30, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Stenson to begin the spurt.
The second half brought a slower pace to the game, as every attempt by the Trojans to make a comeback was answered by their opponents. Facing a five-point deficit with 18:30 left, Coker dropped in two quick baskets headlined by a wing 3-pointer from Godbout to hand the Cobras a 10-point advantage.
Redshirt junior Emily Willoughby brought AU within four with a 3-pointer in front of the Anderson bench, but AU’s small run was cut short by a Stenson lay-in off a drive into the lane that would eventually lead to an 11-point lead for Coker.
Facing the double-digit deficit, Woods buried her 100th career 3-pointer which would start an AU 8-0 run, capped off with another Woods 3-pointer with four minutes to play.
After the visitors went up six with 3:03 left, junior Sierra Simpson, who finished with five points, connected on 3-of-4 free throws after being fouled consecutively by Heidrun Kristmundsdottir and Stenson to bring AU within three. Following a miss on the other end of the floor, freshman guard Heather Jankowy drained a 3-pointer from the wing to draw the game even at 66-66. For Jankowy, she would finish with six points, all coming from behind the arc.
On the ensuing possession, Stenson answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the contest out of reach. The Cobras would score three straight points from the free throw line to close the game out and hand AU its fourth straight setback.
Anderson looks to break away from its losing skid as it heads to Mars Hill on Wednesday. Tip-off with the Lions is set for 6 p.m.