BREVARD, N.C. – Despite junior Sierra Simpson’s 17 points and 10 assists for her third double-double of the season, Anderson University women’s basketball was unable to hang to its halftime lead, falling to South Atlantic Conference member Brevard, 78-73, Wednesday evening at the Boshamer Gymnasium.
To go along with her 17 points and 10 assists, Simpson notched six rebounds for her second double-double with points and assists. Following the guard was junior sharpshooter Lesley Woods who drained five 3-pointers, including three in the final four minutes. Freshman Heather Jankowy recorded three first half 3-pointers en route to 11 points, while classmate Alexis Dillard posted a game-high 13 rebounds.
For the game, the Trojans shot 43.9 percent (25-for-57) from the field and 38.5 percent (10-for-26) from 3-point range, but was unable to contain BC’s shooting performance of 51.1 percent (24-for-47) from the floor and 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) from behind the arc. In the teams’ earlier meeting, BC shot just 28 percent from the field and 22.7 percent from 3-point range, as AU held Brevard to just 54 points.
“This was a tough loss on the road,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “I give Brevard a lot of credit on how hard they played and making big shots in key situations. I thought we did a good job on the boards, especially, offensively, but had a hard time in converting them into second chance points.”
The Tornados were paced by Madison Lenox with a game-high 23 points in 36 minutes, finishing 7-of-12 from the floor. Lenox was followed by guard Lynsey Crisp with 19 points and Shelby Wolfe with 17 points. With the trio combining for 59 points, they produced 75.6 percent of the scoring for the Tornados.
Anderson began the game quickly, jumping out to a 10-point advantage with 13:33 left in the opening period after Simpson knocked in a jumper at the 20-10 mark, which would be its largest lead of the contest.
Following the bucket, the Tornados began to cut into the AU lead, dropping the deficit to just two points with 3:10 remaining when Lenox knocked in her lone trey in the opening period. Brevard would eventually even the score at 37-37 when Crisp knocked in back-to-back free throws.
After junior Jasmine Franklin scored a jumper with under a minute remaining in the opening period, Crisp would be fouled by freshman Nakia Young which would send Crisp back to the free throw line. Crisp made both to even the score at 39-39 with 18 seconds left, but AU answered with late lay-in by Simpson to take a 41-39 lead into halftime. Simpson closed the opening half with a team-high 12 points.
Wolfe recorded a jumper to even the score at 41-41 to open the second half, but Dillard retook the lead when Simpson fed the ball underneath to the freshman who netted an easy lay-in. The 43-41 lead would be the Trojans’ last advantage of the contest.
With Brevard holding at least a five-point advantage for the next 15 minutes after Crisp buried a 3-pointer following the Dillard lay-in at the 18:23 mark, the Tornados took their largest lead of the game when of six Taylor Hiatt made two free throws with 3:54 left. Hiatt eventually finished the game with five points and seven rebounds.
Facing their largest deficit, Woods answered with a deep trey to chip into the BC lead. After Wolfe brought the Brevard lead back to five with a lay-in, Simpson went on a 4-0 run by herself, bringing the Trojans within one with just over a minute remaining.
On the next possession, the Tornados answered when Hiatt buried a 3-pointer from the wing to bring the lead back to four. Not to be outdone, Woods grabbed a pass from Jankowy on the opposite end and netted her final trey of the contest, sending the score to 74-73 with 33 seconds left.
Needing a defensive stop on the opposite end, BC got its most important basket of the evening when Lenox fed Wolfe under the Anderson basket for a lay-in to bring the score to 76-73 with 18 seconds left.
Setting up a play on AU’s next possession, Jankowy’s pass to Woods in the corner to too strong and the ball bounced off Woods’ hands and out-of-bounds. After being fouled, Lenox clinched the game with two free throws, handing Brevard its sixth victory of the season and drawing a game behind Anderson in the conference standings at 4-7.
“We didn’t do a good job taking care of the ball,” Garrity said. “It’s tough to win when you turn the ball over 24 times. We will learn from this game put it behind us as we prepare for a big game this weekend.”
With her five treys on the night, Woods moved into sole possession of 10th-place in the program’s all-time 3-pointers made list, passing Regina McCoy (1997-00). The junior now has 111 made 3-pointers for her career. Senior Emily Willoughby is now four 3-pointers from 100 for her career after notching two on the evening.
The setback snaps a five-game winning streak over Brevard and marks AU’s second loss at Boshamer Gymnasium in four tries. The loss also marks the first time Anderson has fallen this season when scoring 70 points or more for game.
The Trojans look to bounce back this weekend when it welcomes SAC newcomer Queens to the Abney Athletic Center on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.