HARTSVILLE, S.C. – As four Trojans found double figures in scoring, Anderson University women’s basketball added a key South Atlantic Conference victory over league newcomer Coker, 65-48, Saturday afternoon at Timberlake-Lawton Gymnasium.
AU capitalized on its trips to the free throw line, finishing a perfect 13-for-13 from the line, led by freshman Heather Jankowy, who went 4-for-4 en route to her team-high 12 points. Jankowy was joined in double digits by fellow starter Jennifer Monroe, sophomore Katie Davis and junior Jasmine Franklin who all notched 10 points apiece for the game. Davis closed the afternoon 5-for-6 from the field, as the Trojans shot 42.1 percent on the day.
With the triumph, Anderson breaks away from the Cobras in the conference standings as both teams entered the day in a deadlock for seventh-place. The win propels the Black and Gold to sixth-place with two games to play and with a win on Wednesday; AU would earn a spot into the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament.
On the home side, Coker was paced by guard Tanesha Stenson with 24 points on 7-of-16 shooting. Stenson, who entered the game averaging 13.8 points per game, added six rebounds and two steals playing in every minute. Teammate Priscilla Fenty recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, including nine of the offensive end. With Fenty being the only player to record double figure rebounds, the Cobras won the rebounding battle, 43-36.
Despite winning the rebounding category, Coker managed to shoot just 28.6 percent as Stenson and Fenty combined for 70.8 percent of the Cobras’ scoring. The 48 points is the first time this season AU has held a team under 50 points.
Anderson started quickly as Monroe and junior guard Sierra Simpson dropped in back-to-back field goals, followed by a 3-pointer from Jankowy to propel the visitors to a 7-0 lead to start the game. The spurt forced Coker head coach Jenny Finora to call a timeout in the opening three minutes, as the Black and Gold recorded their second 7-0 run to begin a game in their last three games.
The Trojans maintained their lead following the break, eventually pushing out an 11-point advantage when Franklin recorded her only two free throws of the contest, bringing the score to 15-4 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the opening period.
After a missed 3-pointer on the opposite end by Coker’s Hailey Yohn, senior sharpshooter Emily Willoughby connected on her only trey on the game, giving AU its largest lead of the first half at 18-4.
Despite the convincing lead, the Cobra attack began their way back into the game, going on a 13-0 run. During the run, the Trojans went 0-for-7 from the floor with seven turnovers that brought the score to 18-17 with less than four minutes remaining in the half.
Anderson was able to escape the first period with the lead after Davis broke the scoring drought with a lay-in. Following the Davis bucket, the teams traded points in the final moments of the first half, as AU took a 24-21 lead into the locker rooms.
“We got off to a really good start in the first half while playing tough hard-nosed defense,” Anderson head coach Jimmy Garrity said. “We went through a tough stretch offensively and didn’t do a very good job taking care of the basketball with 11 first half turnovers.”
The lead quickly vanished at the start of the second half as the SAC newcomers evened the score at 30-30 when Stenson made one of her three 3-pointers for the afternoon. Stenson followed the long-range jumper with another 3-pointer, as Coker took its first lead of the afternoon at 33-30.
The Trojans answered the Stenson scoring streak, as Monroe and Davis knocked in back-to-back jumpers to regain the advantage AU would eventually not give back.
Coker would even the scoreline twice following the Monroe and Davis baskets, but was unable to go back on top. At 42-42, the game’s final deadlock, Anderson stormed to an 11-0 run, highlighted by junior Lesley Woods’ only 3-pointer of the game, as the run would put the game out of reach. The trey moved Woods one 3-pointer away from tying Mikala Fogle-Wilson for seventh-place in the program’s 3-pointers made list.
Following the 11-0 run, Stenson made two free throws to give Coker its first points in five minutes, to cut the deficit to nine points. The Trojans answered the free throws with a 3-pointer by Jankowy and a lay-in from Franklin to give AU a 58-44 lead.
Facing the deficit, Coker began to send the Trojans to the line, trying to conserve time, but AU took advantage of the trips to the charity stripe, knocking down seven free throws in the final two minutes to clinch the 65-48 conference win.
“I thought we did a great job in the second half of grinding it out,” Garrity said. “We hit a couple of jumpers that really sparked us offensively and we did a better job taking care of the basketball with just four turnovers. This was a good win over a good Coker basketball team and we look forward to a huge game this weekend with senior night and tournament seeding on the line.”
Anderson returns to the Abney Athletic Center for the final time during the regular season on Wednesday when it welcomes Tusculum. The Trojans will recognize the team’s lone senior, Emily Willoughby, for senior night, as tip-off is set for 6 p.m.