ANDERSON, S.C. – Facing a hot-shooting opponent for the second straight contest, Anderson University women’s basketball dropped its second straight game, falling to Catawba 80-67 in South Atlantic Conference action Saturday afternoon at the Abney Athletic Center.
The Indians shot an astounding 58.3 percent (28-for-48) from the floor and 50 percent (6-for-12) from 3-point range en route to their second win over the Trojans this season. Catawba’s win breaks the three-way tie, which included AU, for sixth-place in the league standings, moving to 11-10 on the season and 9-8 in league play. Anderson stumbles to 12-11 overall and 8-9 in the SAC.
Just one Trojan found double figures as junior Sierra Simpson was a point shy of tying her career-high, finishing with 17 on 8-of-19 shooting in 35 minutes. Freshman forward Alexis Dillard added nine points with a perfect 7-for-7 performance from the free throw line, while grabbing eight rebounds. Junior Jasmine Franklin posted her first game with double figure rebounds, hauling in 12 boards as Dillard and Franklin combined for 20 of Anderson’s 33 rebounds.
The outside shooting the Trojans have relied on recently was not found, as AU totaled just three 3-pointers for the contest, tallying its lowest total treys since making 1-of-12 against USC Aiken on Nov. 18. Sophomore Madison Floyd went 2-of-3 from behind the arc en route to eight points.
Anderson’s lone bright spot offensively was its 18-for-19 mark from the free throw line, as Dillard, Franklin (4-for-4), Nakia Young (2-for-2) and Simpson (1-for-1) went perfect from the charity stripe for the game. With the Black and Gold capitalizing on the trips to the line, AU tallied its highest free throw percentage of the 2013-14 campaign at 94.7 percent.
Catawba posted three players in double digits led by Zhaquondalee Greer with 16 points, highlighted by a 6-for-6 afternoon from the free throw line. Sharpshooter Chloe Bully netted 15 points, including two 3-pointers and senior center Antionette McPhail tallied 12 points to go along with seven rebounds.
As the Trojans took a 4-2 lead in the early parts of the opening half, Catawba stirred an 8-0 run, highlighted by four quick points from McPhail in the span. The Indians held onto the lead until the 10:17 mark when freshman Heather Jankowy dropped in a pair of free throws, evening up the score at 17-17.
After playing to another tie, Anderson would eventually regain the lead at the 7:16 mark when Simpson scored a fast break lay-in to make the score 24-23. Following the basket, Catawba’s Emma Ucinski made 1-of-2 from the free line to draw the score even for the fifth time in the half.
The Indians controlled the remainder of the period, outscoring AU 12-6 in the final five minutes, taking a 36-30 lead into halftime. The halftime deficit marked the ninth time this season the Trojans have been down after 20 minutes of play, having only mounting a comeback once this year.
Catawba’s shooting continued into the second half, as it took its first double digit advantage with 15:05 remaining when Khadijah Brown notched a jumper, sending the score to 42-32. After the bucket, the Trojans began to inch back with a quick 6-0 run with Simpson scoring all six points. Despite Simpson cutting into the Catawba led, it was the closest the Trojans would come for the reminder of the afternoon.
After Greer handed the Indians their second 10-point advantage with 10:28 left, Catawba recorded its largest lead of the game after Bully drained a 3-pointer with 2:44 remaining to put the game out of reach. The Trojans would bring the deficit to nine in the final two minutes, but was unable to keep up with the visitor’s shooting performance.
With the setback, AU drops its third straight game and falls to 1-7 to Catawba since joining the SAC prior to the 2010-11 season.
Anderson has a short cool down period before it takes to the court on Monday as it welcomes Mars Hill to the Electric City. Tip-off from the Abney Center is set for 6 p.m.