Basketball (W)

Cox's last-second jumper sends Women's Basketball to tourney final

HICKORY, N.C. – Sophomore Ashley Cox hit a 15-foot jumper with 1.1 seconds left to give top-seeded Catawba College a 64-62 win over fourth-seeded Mars Hill in semifinal action at the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at the Multipurpose Facility at Catawba Valley Community College on Saturday afternoon. The win sends the Lady Indians, now 24-5, into Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game against the winner of the Carson-Newman/Lenoir-Rhyne semifinal. Mars Hill ends its season at 15-14. “I thought they’d pick me up full court,’ said Cox. “That really amazed me. The girl kept backing up into the paint. I wasn’t thinking of anything other than I had to shoot it.” “Sometimes those things work, sometimes they don’t,” said Catawba coach John Duncan. “We got the ball back in Ashley’s hands and she made the correct decision and pulled the string.” Mars Hill coach Mandy Mattox said the reason they didn’t put more pressure in the backcourt was because of Cox’s ability to drive past the defense. “Cox is such a good point guard. I thought she’d get a wide open layup (with pressure). I thought Holly (Carringer) defended the shot pretty well. She was close. She didn’t quite get there.” Mars Hill used an early 10-1 run to grab a 14-5 lead after just six minutes. The Lady Lions would grab their biggest advantage at 23-11 after a layup by Holly Carringer with 11:48 in the half. Catawba would steadily cut into the lead, getting within 32-20 on a layin by Christina Carmon with just 1:10 before the break. The Lady Lions would score the final four points of the half to lead 36-30 at the half. Mars Hill shot 48% in the opening half and held a 24-12 edge on the boards. Mars Hill scored the first bucket of the second half, but Catawba’s Desiree Pugh fired in nine straight points to put the Lady Indians up 39-38 with 17:13 to play. Catawba gained a 50-45 lead on a layup by Lynn Morancie with 8:48 remaining, but Mars Hill scored six straight points to take back the lead on a three-point by Tiffany Atkins at 51-50 with 6:44 left. With the game tied at 55-55, Danyel Locklear scored four points to give Catawba a 59-55 edge at the 3:07 mark. The Lady Indians led 61-56 with 1:32 left after a pair of free throws by Morancie, but Catawba misfired on four of its next five from the charity stripe as Mars Hill battled back to within 62-60. Kristi Ferris converted a pair of free throws for Mars Hill with 7.6 seconds left to tie the score at 62-62 to set up Cox’s game-winner. Catawba shot 63.6% in the final half in rallying for the win. Mars Hill maintained its rebounding edge at 41-26 for the game, but shot only 36% in the final half. Catawba also had just 10 turnovers to 17 for Mars Hill. Cox and Locklear each scored 14 for Catawba, while Pugh added 10, all in the final half. Ferris led all scorers with 19 for the Lady Lions. Atkins posted a double-double with 14 poitns and 11 rebounds, while Holly Carringer added 13. #####

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August 24

Volleyball vs. UNC Pembroke 11 a.m.

Volleyball @ Francis Marion 3 p.m.

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August 25

Volleyball vs. Converse 11 a.m.

Volleyball vs. Emmanuel 5 p.m.

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August 30

Soccer (W) vs. SAINT ANSELM 5 p.m.

Soccer (M) vs. BARTON 7:30 p.m.

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August 31

Volleyball vs. West Texas A&M 11 a.m.

Volleyball @ Tampa 7 p.m.

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