Women’s basketball: Catawba wins again
By David Shaw
SALISBURY — Angie Morton found a lot to smile about Saturday at Goodman Gym.
The longtime Catawba women’s basketball coach was all rainbows and butterflies after the Indians routed visiting Fayetteville State, 91-70, in their final non-conference tuneup.
“Well, there’s a lot to like about this team,” Morton said after Catawba (3-1) erased part of the memory of Tuesday’s 34-turnover loss at Johnson C. Smith. “They share the ball very well. It’s been a while since I coached a team that had 20 assists in a game. They really don’t care who scores the points. And when it’s time to go, they’re not afraid to get it to the right people.”
The right people against FSU (0-4) were juniors Terri Rogers and Serena Brown. Rogers, the reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week, shot 12-for-23 from from the field, contributed 26 points and 13 rebounds, and notched her fourth straight double-double — an impressive effort even if Morton was less-than-impressed.
“The shots she missed, she can make,” Morton said. “She looked a little indecisive at times. They weren’t doubling her, so she needed to make more of those. But still, she played hard. She cleaned up everything that needed to be cleaned up.”
So did Brown, who’s backcourt wizardry was instrumental. The Maryland native tossed in a career-best 18 points and added seven assists and three steals. “Everybody was in attack mode,” she said after Catawba placed four scorers in double figures. “We were pumped up, but also prepared.”
It didn’t look that way in the opening moments, when FSU jumped to an 8-2 lead. “Yeah, we started off well,” said first-year Broncos’ coach Serena King-Coleman. “But when they turned up the heat on us we fell apart. We’re young, and still trying to understand the importance of talking.”
Catawba’s turnaround was sparked by Rogers, who scored seven of the team’s first 10 points. Her 6-footer from the left baseline gave the Indians their first lead, 10-8, with 6:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
“Even though we were down, we didn’t let anything get to us,” she said after grabbing seven offensive rebounds. “There were a whole bunch of little somethings that got us going.”
Among them were the back-to-back layups Rogers converted that put Catawba ahead 31-21 early in the second period. Moments later, freshman Toni Tucker came off the bench and provided a steal-and-basket sequence that stretched the lead to 17 points. By halftime, the Indians enjoyed a 51-33 cushion.
“Those girls from the bench came in and did some good things,” Rogers said afterward. “Everyone was ready when their name was called.”
Fayetteville State made a modest comeback attempt in third quarter, trimming a 23-point deficit to 64-50 when reserve Tiashana Morris threaded a 3-pointer from the right side. But seven fourth-quarter points by Catawba super-sub Alexis Newbold and Brown’s driving isolation layup down the lane silenced the threat.
“I thought (Brown) saw the game real well today,” said Morton. “She took advantage of what was there.”
Next up on the Indians’ dance card is Tuesday’s SAC opener at Coker. A preseason poll predicted a middle-of-the-pack finish for Catawba.
“Sixth place?” Brown said with a raised eyebrow. “I personally like proving people wrong. That gives us something to work toward.”
NOTES: Catawba shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half (18-for-36) and finished 35-for-78 (45 percent). The Indians out-rebounded FSU 48-38 and limited their turnovers to 18. … Marshauna Butler (12) and Bri Johnson (10) also scored in double figures. Sophomore Yakima Clifton paced Fayetteville State with 15 points and nine rebounds.
FAYETTEVILLE STATE (70) — Clifton 15, Clark 10, Phifer 10, Morris 9, Potts 7, Maduegbuna 5, Jones 5, Straite 4, Bennett 3, Smith 2, Hinton.
CATAWBA (91) — Rogers 26, Brown 18, Butler 12, Johnson 10, Newbold 9, Hodges 7, Franklin 3, Webb 3, Tucker 2, Stevenson 1, Angelo.
Fayetteville St. 21 12 22 15 — 70
Catawba 27 24 21 19 — 91