Basketball (W)

Johnson Tallies Career-High 23 Points to Help Push Women's Basketball Past Tusculum


GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- Bri Johnson (Statesville, N.C./N. Iredell HS/Belmont Abbey) tallied a career-high 23 points and visiting Catawba pulled away over the final seven minutes to post an 84-74 win over Tusculum in South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball action on Monday night at Pioneer Arena.  The Catawba Indians snap a three-game conference skid and improve to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the SAC.  The Pioneers fall to 2-6 and 2-3.

Johnson's 23 points eclipsed her previous high of 17 points which she accomplished in Catawba's previous game, a loss against Carson-Newman.  The sophomore canned 8-of-13 shots on Monday and added 7-of-8 at the line to post her new high.  Johnson also added three rebounds and three steals. 

Also reaching double figures for Catawba were Chloe Bully (Hannut, Belgium/KOL Landen) with 17 points, Emma Ucinski (Atlanta, Ga./St. Pius X), with a dozen, and Zhaquondalee Greer (Greensboro, N.C./Academy at Smith/Charleston So.), with 10.  Greer just missed a double-double as she pulled down nine rebounds.  Bully added five assists and Ucinski grabbed seven rebounds with four assists.

The Lady Indians got off to a hot start and led 19-11 after eight minutes.  Catawba twice led by 10 in the opening half, but after going up 35-25 Tusculum went on a 12-2 run to pull even on a layup by Shynese Whitener at the 4:36 mark.  The Pioneers held a three-point lead late in the half before a three-pointer from Janna Dixon (Advance, N.C./W. Forsyth HS) in the final minute sent the teams to the break tied to 46-all.

Neither team could lead by more than three early in the second half until a 6-0 run by Catawba pushed the Lady Indians to a 62-56 lead with 11 minutes left.  Bully picked up her fourth foul at that point and the Pioneers rallied to tie the game at 66-all on two free throws from Brianna Mitchell.

Ucinski made two free throws to put Catawba back out front and Johnson followed a basket by Jordyn Richardson (Kernersville, N.C./Mt. Tabor HS) with a pair of jumpers in the lane to give Catawba a 74-67 edge with 5:02 left.  The Lady Indians made just one field goal after that, but canned 8-of-10 at the line to keep a double-digit lead.

Mitchell led Tusculum with 15 points, while Rainey Story added 13.  Whitener and Maelyn Cutshaw each scored 10 points for the Pioneers.  Whitener added six rebounds and four steals.

Catawba  outshot Tusculum 47% to 41%, including a sparkling 58% in the opening half.  The Pioneers had one more rebound with both teams committing 19 turnovers.  Each team had ample attempts at the line.  Catawba made 29-of-39 (74%) with the Pioneers hitting on 22-of-33 (67%).

Catawba will be idle until after Christmas when the Lady Indians return to face Appalachian State December 30th at 7 pm in Boone, N.C.

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