GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – The freshmen duo of Heather Jankowy and Alexis Dillard shined as Jankowy posted a career-high 23 points, while Dillard posted her second career double-double to lead Anderson University women’s basketball to a 75-67 triumph over Tusculum Wednesday evening at Pioneer Arena.
With the win, the Trojans improve to 12-9 overall and over the .500 mark at 8-7 in South Atlantic Conference play. The Pioneers, who entered the game on a three-game winning streak, falls to 4-15 on the season and 4-11 in the SAC.
Jankowy, who saw a career-high 35 minutes due to teammate Sierra Simpson’s foul trouble, made the most of her given opportunity, finishing 8-for-14 from the field including a 3-for-6 night from behind the arc en route to surpassing the 20-point mark for the first time for her career. The freshman also went 4-for-5 from the free throw line, as the Trojans shot 71.9 percent (23-for-32) from the charity stripe on the night.
A big contributor to the percentage was Dillard, who posted a 10-for-12 performance from the line, her highest total of made free throws for a game this season. Her 14 points and 10 rebounds mark her second career double-double and second in her last three games. The Taylors, S.C. native also notched a game-high two blocks for the third time in her last four games with two or more blocks.
“It was great to see two of our freshmen have big games,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “This was a great road win for our team against a tough and scrappy Tusculum squad.”
Junior Lesley Woods knocked in four 3-pointers on the night, making it the fourth straight game the sharpshooter has made four or more 3-pointers and the fifth straight night she has scored in double figures. The 4-for-7 performance was her highest 3-point percentage for a game since equaling the same tally at Erskine on Nov. 12.
Classmate Jasmine Franklin rounded out the double figure scoring with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting, as the team shot 22-for-55 (40 percent) from the field and 8-for-18 (44.4 percent) from behind the 3-point arc.
“I thought Jasmine provided a great lift off the bench by making plays,” Garrity said. “Lesley continues to shoot the ball extremely well and made a big 3-pointer coming out of a timeout when we really needed a basket.”
Leading the Pioneers was sophomore forward Kristen McMillion, who came into the game averaging 10.4 rebounds per game. McMillon added the game’s second double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds seeing the floor for the entire game. McMillon was joined by sophomore Shynese Whitener with 19 points and one rebound shy of TC’s second double-double of the night.
As 47 fouls were called for the game, the advantage swung in Anderson’s favor as the Pioneers sent just seven players on the court, while AU totaled 10 different participants. For the game, Tusculum shot 32.4 percent (22-for-68) from the field and just 2-for-18 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range.
After AU jumped out to an early 5-4 lead to begin the contest, Woods picked up where she left off from the previous game and knocked in back-to-back 3-pointers to go on a 6-0 run by herself, forcing a TC timeout at the 11-4 mark.
With another seven-point advantage with 13 minutes left in the opening period, the Pioneer offense started to attack beginning with Tusculum’s Blakely Burleson’s lone trey of the contest which stirred a quick 9-0 run in favor of the Pioneers, as they took their first lead of the contest at 15-13.
Anderson evened the score at 18-18 when Dillard made the backend of two free throws. Following Dillard’ trip to the line, AU forced a missed jumper on the opposite end that led to Woods’ final 3-pointer of the half, pushing out a 21-18 Trojan advantage.
In the final six minutes of the opening half, AU capitalized on its trips to the free throw line, making 8-of-9 free throws, equaling its largest advantage of the opening half, taking a 33-26 score into halftime. Entering the locker room, Dillard led all scorers with 12 points with eight from the free throw line.
Going down five to open the final stanza, Jankowy responded with a deep 3-pointer which began a quick 7-1 run with every point following the Jankowy basket coming from the free throw line. With the spurt, the Trojans earned their largest advantage up to that point of 11 at 42-31.
After Tusculum cut the AU lead to nine at the 13:42 mark, Jankowy buried another trey and the Trojans would maintain the double digit lead over the next ten minutes, eventually capturing a 19-point lead when Jankowy scored four straight points.
With a 65-54 lead with just over three minutes to play, TC began its rally when Nequoiah Anderson and Burleson tallied back-to-back lay-ins to cut the AU lead to 65-58, forcing a Trojan timeout.
Following the quick break, Woods brought the AU lead back to double figures when she knocked in her final 3-pointer of the contest in front of the Anderson bench. After the basket, Tusculum would come as close as six in the final moments, but the Trojans sealed the win going 5-for-6 from the line in the final minute of play.
By scoring 75 points in the win, AU improves to 10-1 on the season when scoring more than 70 points for a game. The win also marks Anderson’s fifth straight over Tusculum in the all-time series with TC’s last win coming on Jan. 18, 2012. AU has now won three of its last four and five of its last seven games.
On Saturday, the Trojans will complete their three-game road swing with a trip to conference-leading Wingate, as AU looks to avenge an early season home setback. Tip-off from Cuddy Arena is set for 2 p.m.