Basketball (W)

Johnson Scores 29 Points, Sets School Record In Regional Loss To Limestone

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GAFFNEY, S.C. -- Catawba sophomore Bri Johnson (Statesville, N.C./N. Iredell/Belmont Abbey) set a school record with eight three-pointers, but it was not enough as top-seeded Limestone claimed a 76-62 win in the opening round of the 2015 NCAA II Southeast Regional Women’s Basketball Tournament on Friday night at the Timken Center.  The Saints, now 31-1, advance to Saturday’s semifinals.  The Catawba Indians finish their season at 18-12.

Foul trouble and turnovers proved to be the largest downfall for Catawba as they committed 21 fouls and had 20 turnovers.  Catawba’s leading scorer, Jada Huntley (Indian Trail, N.C./Porter Ridge HS), fouled out without scoring and playing only 12 minutes on the floor.  South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year, Terri Rogers (Burlington, N.C./E. Alamance) picked up two fouls in the opening 1:18 and had three by the half in just two minutes.

Johnson got Catawba started quickly, scoring the first 11 points for the Lady Indians, including three baskets from long range.  Limestone led briefly at 8-6 then tied the game at 11-all on a three-pointer from Celestra Warren.  When Jasmine Kearse converted a turnover into a three-point play at the 13:03 mark, the Saints led 14-11 and never trailed again.

Catawba got a big boost from Jordyn Richardson (Kernersville, N.C./Mt. Tabor HS), who scored five straight points in a two minute stretch to keep the Lady Indians close at 26-21 with 6:15 left in the half.  Limestone stretched the margin quickly as Kearse hit consecutive triples to push the margin to double digits and another from long range by Morgan Brown had the hosts up 37-21.  Catawba cut the deficit to 37-27 at the break.

Johnson again sparked Catawba to open the second half.  She canned two three-pointer and after Chloe Bully (Hannut, Belgium/KOL Landen) converted a three-point play, Catawba trailed just 39-38 three minutes into the second half.  That would be as close as Catawba would get. Twenty seconds later Huntley picked up two fouls in 10 seconds and went to the bench with four fouls. 

Limestone followed with eight straight points to go up 47-38.  A three-pointer from Johnson with 5:59 to go brought the Lady Indians within 60-53, but Limestone scored two quick baskets and led by double figures the rest of the way.

Johnson posted her career-high in the loss with 29 points.  She went 10-of-16 from the field and was 8-of-12 from long range.  Rogers would get to double figures, scoring all 12 of her points after the break.  Bully scored eight points in her final game, the lone Catawba senior.

Limestone was led by Kearse, who tallied 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting.  She canned four from behind the arc.  Warren added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Precilla Hill and Ayshia McNeil each scored a dozen.

Catawba shot 38% for the game to 48% for Limestone.  The Lady Indians did hold a 38-30 edge on the glass, but had 20 turnovers to just eight for the Saints.


Coach Morton on the game
“Limestone is a great team with multiple scorers.  I think we gave them a run for their money.  We didn’t lay down when they got a lead.  It was a very fast-paced game.  I feel like we have a lot of young players as we played a lot of freshman and sophomore’s and it’s a great experience for them.”

On staying close without key players
“We are a team and we know that we have to do things as a team.  We have had to play without Jada [Huntley] before.  Obviously, it helps us to have her on the floor. She is such a great athlete, she can rebound and score for us in multiple ways.  I definitely feel the game could have been different if she could have stayed in there as well as Terri Rogers in the first half.  I think our kids had a real strong will today, we just didn’t have enough in our tank and we turned the ball over too much.”

On Bri Johnson’s game
“Bri has not had a bad game all season.  She sat out last season as a red-shirt and utilized her time wisely.  She has played hard every game, whether it has been scoring or defending their best player.  I’m not surprised she scored 29 points and broke the school record.  That is her work ethic and determination and I knew that she was ready today.”

Chloe Bully on the regional experience
“I came here my freshman year and I feel it was a great experience for the other players and for me as it was my last game.  I know we have a young team and I feel this game will help them a lot.”

Bri Johnson on the regional experience
“The was a really great experience and something I have never experienced before.  I feel we are so young that we will be back next year.”

Johnson on her game
“During warm-ups I was feeling pretty good.  I was just ready for the game.  We had put in extra shooting in before we came here.  Our shoot-around was great, the practice before was great.  I just felt good in the opening minutes and it just kind of went its course.”

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