Basketball (W)

Johnson's 27 Leads Catawba Past Mars Hill 79-66


SALISBURY, N.C. -- A 21 point halftime deficit was too much for Mars Hill University to overcome in South Atlantic conference women’s basketball action Saturday afternoon as Catawba College claimed a 79-66 win at Goodman Gym. Bri Johnson led all scorers with 27 points in the bout. The win lifts Catawba to 10-10 on the year and 7-7 in the conference. Mars Hill drops to 8-9 overall and 7-5 in the SAC.

With 7:15 left in the first quarter, Johnson drained a three to give Catawba a 7-4 advantage and a lead that would not be relinquished for the remainder of play. The Catawba Lady Indians relied on the trio of Johnson, Terri Rogers and Jada Huntley to extend the lead to 11 by the end of the quarter.

In the second, Catawba used their pressure defense to extend the lead to 21 by halftime.   By the break Johnson tallied 18 points and five rebounds. Rogers added 12 points with Huntley contributing ten to the cause. The Indians pressure defense forced 11 turnovers which resulted in six fast break points.

Catawba opened up the third quarter with the same momentum as the first to extend the score to 63-36 with 6:17 left in the period. Both teams immediately went into a drought until Mars Hill’s Kelsey Espinosa recorded a basket three and a half minutes later. The basket kick started a rally for the Lions as they closed the break on an 11-4 run.

 The run continued in the fourth as Mars Hill closed the score to six with less than three minutes to play at 70-64. Huntley responded first for Catawba scoring the next two baskets which included a steal and fast break bucket. Johnson fed off the instant momentum swing with a pair of converted free throws followed by a last second jumper.

Johnson ended the afternoon with 27 points and nine rebounds to lead all players in either category. Huntley recorded 19 points of her own with Rogers tallying 16 points.

Catawba shot 29-for-58 (50.0%) overall and 5-for-14 from long range. The Lady Indians ended their slump from the free throw line, converting 16-of-18. Catawba outrebounded the Lions 37-26.

Mars Hill turned out three solid performances from Paige Chavis, Ansley Ricker and Genice Lane. Chavis tallied 17 points while Ricker and Lane dropped in 15 each. Lane led the team in rebounds with seven.

The Lions shot 25-for-57 (43.9%) overall, including 5-for-10 from deep. Mars Hill performed just as well from the charity stripe going 11-of-13.

Catawba will remain at home as they host SAC foe, Lenoir-Rhyne, on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

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