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College Women’s Basketball: Catawba loses by 1

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY —  Terri Rogers had to be startled that she was as open as she was on an inbounds play from underneath Catawba’s goal with 1.4 seconds remaining.

Serena Brown lobbed the ball perfectly to Rogers who had a floating 2-footer with plenty of time left. When her straight-on attempt trickled off the rim, Catawba lost to Johnson C. Smith, 52-51.

“We had a little luck on our side at the end,” winning coach Stephen Joyner Jr. said after Monday’s non-conference struggle at Goodman Gym. “Catawba probably played better than we did, probably executed their game plan better. But we played hard enough to compensate for our mistakes, so we’ll take it.”

Asha Jordan made the decisive bucket for the Golden Bulls (7-2) with 12 seconds left. Brown did a good job of forcing Jordan left on a drive and Rogers challenged the shot, but Jordan still made a tough, gliding banker to put the visitors ahead to stay.

“We’re in a timeout, down one, and everyone’s looking at me to design a play,” Joyner said. “I told them I’d get the ball inbounds for them, but we didn’t need a play. Just put the ball in the hands of the senior (Jordan). She’s one of the toughest girls I’ve ever coached, and she made the big shot. She used the glass. As an old-school coach you love to see that.”

Catawba (4-5) played awfully hard and generally played well, but there’s a difference between playing well and shooting well, and the Indians shot 32.8 percent. If the Indians shoot 40 percent, if they make the half-dozen bunnies they missed, they win pretty handily.

“We just couldn’t make our shots,” Catawba coach Angie Morton said. “We missed so many layups. Just frustrating. This was a loss that we did to ourselves.”

Rogers got 10 of her 12 points in the second half. Madi Hallman made four 3-pointers for her 12 points. Brown, the reigning South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week, had eight points and seven assists. Marshauna Butler got eight points and seven rebounds. Contributing buckets off the Catawba bench were freshmen Taisha DeShazo, Talia Barnes and Shemya Stanback.

Jasmine Carter led the Golden Bulls with 14. Carter is an extra-athletic guard and she did serious damage with 12 points in the fourth quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers.

“She’s got a true jump shot, gets high and shoots it at the top of her jump,” Morton said.

Catawba struggled mightily on the offensive end early, missing 16 of its first 20 shots. But the Indians held their own on the boards against a fierce rebounding team, created some turnovers and stayed within striking distance. Down eight at one point in the second quarter, Catawba chopped its deficit to 27-24 at the half when Hallman made a nice pass, and DeShaizo finished. The Indians hadn’t gotten a single point from the foul line, but they were still in it.

Catawba had missed 34 of its 44 shots and was down 31-25 with 5:30 left in the third quarter when Brown drove and kicked out to Hallman for a wing 3-pointer. That shot got the Indians going, and after Barnes and Stanback accounted for six straight points off the bench, Catawba grabbed a 34-33 lead.

Another 3-pointer by Hallman — this one a twisting job over two flailing defenders to beat the clock at the end of the third quarter — put the Indians back ahead, 37-35.

Catawba slid behind in the fourth quarter and trailed 50-46 when Brown accepted a kickout pass from Alexis Newbold and nailed a right-wing 3-ball with 1:05 remaining. That clutch shot gave the Indians a chance.

“Anytime someone drives, we’re taught to move to that window for the open shot, and I found one,” Brown said. “But it was just one of those games when we didn’t make enough of our open shots. Especially on our home court, we needed to make more. We got the shots we wanted, but we got in a hurry and rushed them.”

With 45 seconds left, Carter drove hard against Catawba’s Butler, but missed the shot, and the Golden Bulls were whistled for a foul on the rebound.

With 20 seconds left there was a flurry of action in the lane, as Brown missed on a drive. Newbold grabbed the ball but had it poked away. Then Rogers secured the loose ball, drew a foul and calmly  made the free throws that gave the Indians a 51-50 lead.

Eight seconds later, Jordan made her contested shot on the move to put the Bulls ahead.

With time out running out, Brown drove left but had the ball slapped out of bounds with 1.4 seconds left. Rogers did a nice job of moving and worked herself free for the inbounds lob, but her shot wouldn’t fall.

“The basketball gods just weren’t on our side tonight,” Brown said.

Catawba returns to SAC play on Saturday against Anderson at Goodman Gym. J.C. Smith starts CIAA play Thursday against Lincoln.

“We like to play Catawba this time of year,” Joyner said. “That’s a good program. They’re a good measuring stick for us before we start league play.”

 

J.C. SMITH (52) — Carter 14, Jordan 11, Rivers 8, Dove 7, Hall 6, Adams 4, Green 2, Bowens, McNeil.

CATAWBA (51) —  Hallman 12, Rogers 12, Brown 8, Butler 8, DeShazo 5, Barnes 4, Stanback 2, Franklin, Webb, Gardner, Newbold.

J.C. Smith     13    13    8   17  — 52

Catawba       9        15   13  14 — 51

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