Basketball (W)

Locklear sets scoring mark, Women's Basketball gets SAC title; regional berth

HICKORY, N.C.—Top-seeded Catawba College rallied in the final ten minutes and defeated second-seeded Wingate 74-70 at the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Multipurpose Facility at Catawba Valley Community College on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Indians earn the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA II Regional, making their second straight appearance and third overall. Catawba improves to 22-8 with the win, while Wingate ends its season at 21-10. Conference Player of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player, Danyel Locklear, posted a double-double with 26 points and 16 rebounds to lead Catawba. In the process she became the school’s all-time scoring leader with 1,826 points. She scored five straight points to help Catawba rally from seven down to tie the score at 53-53 with 11:57 left. “I thought Danyel really played hard,” said Catawba coach Angie Morton. “She had some huge rebounds in the second half.” Wingate would go back up by five at 63-58 on a jumper by Veronica Taylor with 9:11 remaining. The Lady Indians then went on a 12-2 run, capped by consecutive baskets by Danielle Scearce to lead 70-65 with 5:07 left. The Bulldogs fought back, getting a pair of free throws by Julie Law and a jumper by Tenetra Barrett to tie the score at 70-70 with 2:45 remaining. Locklear would put Catawba on top for good on a jumper in the lane with 1:40 remaining. Tamekia Foster iced the game with a pair of free throws with 24 seconds left as Wingate missed two three-point tries on its next possession and the Lady Indians ran out the clock. “We got some defensive stops when we had to,” Morton said. “We were trying to make things happen too fast. But we made the big plays when we had to.” “I thought Petra Nagy played Locklear defensively as well as anyone all season,” said Wingate coach Johnny Jacumin. “She was in for defensive purposes, and that changed the way we played offensively. I’m proud of our kids. We played like co-champions should play.” Isiaette Darden came off the bench to score 17 points for Catawba, while all-tournament perfomer Ashley Cox added 10 points and eight assists. Veronica Taylor led Wingate with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while SAC Freshman of the Year, Emily Paffrath, also recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. Barrett followed with 11, while Lakin Byer and Petra Nagy each had 10 points off the bench. Taylor and Barrett earned all-tournament honors as did Lenoir-Rhyne’s Crystal Clary. It marked the third SAC Tournament Championship for Catawba with all three wins coming against Wingate. The win was the 11th straight for Catawba in the series against the Bulldogs. #####

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