WINGATE, N.C. – Unable able to avenge an earlier season loss, Anderson University women’s basketball dropped its 10th game of the season with a 91-73 setback at South Atlantic Conference-leading Wingate Saturday afternoon at Cuddy Arena.
With the loss, the Trojans fall to 12-10 overall and to an even 8-8 mark in league play, while the Bulldogs won their seventh game out of their last eight and continue to lead the conference with a 12-4 mark. Overall, Wingate is 16-4 and claim both games against the Black and Gold this season.
For the game, Wingate, which led the entire afternoon, shot 51.7 percent from the floor (30-for-58), the highest total Anderson has faced all season. From behind the 3-point line, the Bulldogs shot 62.5 percent (5-for-8) as starting guard Shelby Tricoli went 2-for-2 from behind the arc en route to her 10 points in 31 minutes. Leading WU in the point category was two-time SAC Player of the Week Kayla Harris with a game-high 29 points and 12 rebounds after shooting 10-for-14 from the floor.
Fellow forward, Janitsha Williams, poured in 21 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Harris and Williams tandem combined for 50 of Wingate’s 91 points.
Anderson was led by freshman guard Heather Jankowy, who scored 19 points, marking the seventh time in AU’s last eight contests she has scored in double figures. Jankowy finished the contest going 5-of-8 from the floor including hitting three 3-pointers.
Also hitting three treys was junior sharpshooter Lesley Woods, as the Raleigh, N.C. native closed the game with 10 points, joining classmate Sierra Simpson who also notched 10 points. Junior Jasmine Franklin was a point shy of totaling double digits, finishing with nine points and five rebounds. Sophomore Jennifer Monroe grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the afternoon.
As a team, the Trojans shot 40.7 percent (30-for-58) from the field and ended 8-for-20 (40 percent) from 3-point range. Despite the loss, AU recorded its highest free throw percentage of 73.9 percent since going 9-for-11 against Queens on Jan. 25.
“We ran into a really good Wingate team today,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “They shot the ball extremely well today. Harris was impressive and we didn’t have an answer for her.”
From the opening tip, Wingate began the second meeting between the teams this season strongly, jumping out to a quick 7-0 lead, forcing an Anderson timeout. Following the break, the Trojans eventually cut the WU lead to just one by going on a 6-0 run beginning with Woods’ first 3-pointer of the contest.
The Wingate attack answered the Trojan spurt with its own, increasing its lead with a 7-0 run, bringing the score to 16-8 with under 14 minutes left in the opening half.
The Bulldogs grabbed their first double-digit lead of the game when Harris dropped in two of her 12 first half points with a lay-in, taking the score to 25-14 at the 7:39 mark. With the momentum favoring the home side, WU eventually captured a 15-point lead with less than two minutes to play when Tricoli buried a 3-pointer, moving the score to 38-23.
After Simpson scored a traditional 3-point play with just over a minute left in the first half, Williams answered the 3-points with her own traditional 3-point play giving Wingate a 41-26 lead at halftime. The double digit deficit was AU’s largest it has faced going into the second half this season.
The Trojans would only come as close as eight, twice, in the final half as the conference leaders shot 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from the floor and made 20-of-26 from the free throw line in the second half. With the score differential reaching as high as 22 with less than four minutes to play, the fouls began to rack up for AU, as the Trojans finished the contest with 30 personal fouls with Simpson fouling out for the first time this season.
“I was proud of our effort in the second half, we never gave up,” Garrity said. “We will learn from this game as we prepare for Wednesday.”
With the loss, Anderson dropped both matchups with the Bulldogs this year after completing the season sweep a season ago for AU’s only wins in the head-to-head series since joining the SAC in 2010-11. With Coker and Catawba both losing this afternoon, the Black and Gold remain in a three-way tie for sixth-place in the conference standings.
Anderson returns home after completing a three-game road stretch on Wednesday when it hosts Mars Hill. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. as the Trojans seek the series sweep after capturing a 78-71 victory in the Tar Heel State earlier this season.