Basketball (W)

Long Range Shooting Propels Women's Basketball Over Wingate


WINGATE, NC -- After dominating most of the game, visiting Catawba needed a pair of tie-breaking free throws from Mallary Clay (Lansing, NC/Ashe Co. HS) with 15 seconds left to help pull out an 85-81 victory over Wingate to open South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball action on Wednesday night at Cuddy Arena.  The Catawba Indians improve to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the SAC, while the Bulldogs fall to 2-1 and 0-1.

The Lady Indians led 77-64 with just over a minute remaining, but Wingate went on a 17-3 run over a 45-second span to tie the game at 81-81 with 20 seconds left.  Clay was fouled with 15 ticks on the clock and sank two free throws to regain the lead for Catawba.  After a Wingate miss, Emma Ucinski (Atlanta, GA/St. Pius X HS) iced the game with two more from the line with three seconds remaining for the final margin.

Catawba bombed away from long range to build a 73-54 lead late in the second half.  The Lady Indians canned 12-of-22 from behind the arc, just four days after making just 1-of-17 in a loss to Fayetteville State.  Chloe Bully (Hannut, BELGIUM/KOL Landen HS) made 10-of-21 shots, including 5-of-9 from three-point range, in scoring 27 points for the Lady Indians.  Ucinski followed with 19 points and Zhaquondalee Greer (Greensboro, NC/Academy at Smith/Charleston So.) added 18.  Both canned a trio of three-pointers.

The Lady Indians used a 14-0 run early in the first half to take control.  Janna Dixon (Advance, NC/W. Forsyth HS) started the run with a pair of baskets, while Uciniski and Bully hit back-to-back three’s late in the run as Catawba went up 25-13 at the 10:36 mark.  Wingate was within six at 28-22 with about five minutes left in the half, but the Lady Indians ran out to a 44-26 lead at the break on Bully’s three-pointer in the final seconds.

Catawba built on its lead in the second half, going up by 23 at 58-35 following a three-pointer and layup by Bully.  The Lady Indians still held a safe lead after their final three-pointer at 73-54 with 4:45 remaining.  Greer made it 77-63 on a layup with 1:31 to play, but that would be the last field goal for Catawba as Wingate mounted a last-minute rally.

Janitsha Williams canned a three-pointer with 1:05 left then stole the inbounds pass after a time out and the basket made it 77-68.  Two more from behind the arc by Williams cut the margin to 78-74 with 49 seconds to play.  Two free throws by Shelby Tricoli got Wingate within 81-78 with 31 second left and after Ucinski missed two from the line, Williams tied it with another from long range before the Lady Indians pulled it out in the end.

Williams led all scorers with 29 points, with 14 coming in the final 1:05.  She shot 11-of-22 from the field and made five three-pointers, adding eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.  Kayla Harris posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards and Morgan McGee scored 16 points with eight rebounds.

Bully also dished out eight assists in the win for Catawba, while Antoinette McPhail (Timmonsville, SC/Darlington HS/Paine) blocked three shots.  Catawba shot 51% for the game, including 59% in the second half.  Wingate finished at 43% and held a 38-37 edge on the glass.  Catawba committed 24 turnovers to 18 for the Bulldogs. 

Catawba plays its first home game of the season on Saturday, as the Lady Indians host Mars Hill in another SAC contest at 2 p.m.

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