Basketball (W)

Coleman and Merritt Net 20 Each as Women's Basketball Downs Tusculum

12_WBB_MerrittLizTC

GREENEVILLE, TN -- Catawba placed four players in double figure scoring as it claimed an 83-62 win over host Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.  The Catawba Indians notch their third straight win to improve to 13-9 overall and 9-5 in the SAC.  The Pioneers fall to 13-9 and 7-7, losing at home to Catawba for the first time since 2007.

Quaneasia Coleman (Duluth, GA/Northview HS) scored a career-high 20 points while adding seven rebounds and nine assists.  Elizabeth Merritt (Lexington, NC/E. Davidson HD) also tallied 20 points and grabbed four boards.  Antionette McPhail (Timmonsville, SC/Darlington HS/Paine) contributed 17 points and five rebounds, while Chloe Bully (Hannut, BELGIUM/KOL Landen) posted 15 markers and eight assists.  Taylor May (China Grove, NC/S. Rowan HS) rounded out the scoring for Catawba with nine points and six rebounds.

The Catawba starting five of Merritt (8-of-14), McPhail (7-of-9), Bully (4-of-10), Coleman (7-of-9) and May (4-of-4) shot a combined 30-of-46 from the floor (65.2%), while scoring 81 of the Tribe’s 83 points.  Tusculum’s Breaira Barksdale tallied 18 points, while shooting 7-of-7 from the free throw line.  Kendal Baxter added 15 markers, including three 3-pointers, and Ashley Thurman tallied 11 points and four rebounds for the Pioneers.

The Catawba Indians used a 29-6 run in the first half to take its largest lead of the contest at 36-14 following a Coleman jumper with 5:12 remaining in the period.  During that span, the Indians held the Pioneers without a made field goal for nearly eight minutes.  Tusculum closed out the half with an 11-2 run including a 10-foot baseline jumper by Barksdale with two seconds left as Catawba took a 37-25 lead into the locker room.

Both teams traded baskets for the opening moments of the first half, including a three-point play by Catawba’s May to give her team a 44-29 lead with 18 minutes left in the contest.  Baxter followed with a three-pointer for TC, but Merritt answered with a three-point play of her own.  The two teams traded three-pointers before the Pioneers cut the deficit to single digits with six straight points, including back-to-back buckets by Baxter and a Barksdale jumper to trim the Catawba lead to 49-41 with 14:09 remaining.

The Tribe moved out to a 57-46 advantage following a Bully layup at the 9:34 mark only to see Tusculum close the gap again with another 6-0 run to trail 57-52 with 6:41 remaining.  Catawba pushed its lead back to double digits again with a Coleman jumper and a McPhail trey to lead 62-52 with 5:49 left on the scoreboard.

Following a pair of free throws by Barksdale, Merritt converted a three-pointer to lead again by 11 (65-54), but Baxter answered for TC with her pull-up trey of her own from the top of the key as Catawba led 65-57 at the 4:37 mark.  The Tribe answered with a final run, outscoring the Pioneers, 18-5 down the stretch to seal the victory and remain in at least a tie for third place in the conference with Newberry (17-7, 9-5 SAC).

Catawba finished the game shooting 58 percent from the floor, including 16-of-23 (69.6%) in the second half alone. The Indians also assisted on 22 of its 30 field goals on the afternoon.  Tusculum shot 39 percent for the game, including 10-of-30 in the second half (33%) as the Pioneers have their four-game home winning streak snapped.

Catawba hits the road again on Wednesday, traveling to Mars Hill for a 6 p.m. contest.

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