College Basketball: Catawba women knock off Wingate

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, December 19, 2017

By Mike London

SALISBURY — The 2017 season ended for the Catawba women’s basketball team at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C., in the South Atlantic Conference Tournament. Catawba led Wingate by 10 points with under seven minutes to play but failed to finish off the Bulldogs.

Catawba guard Serena Brown shot 1-for-12 in that debacle, probably the worst shooting of her life.

Brown made up for it on Tuesday. The senior was close to perfect as Catawba knocked off Wingate at Goodman Gym, 60-47. Brown scored 18, grabbed nine rebounds, handed out five assists and made just one turnover in the 38 frenzied minutes she was on the floor. Wingate came into the game with six straight victories and an unblemished SAC record, but the Bulldogs ran into a brick wall of Catawba defenders.

Catawba moved into a tie for second place in the SAC and ended a five-game losing streak in its series with the Bulldogs. It was mostly defense.Wingate shot 29.8 percent from the field and didn’t make a single 3-pointer.

“We wanted a little bit of revenge for how last season ended,” Brown said. “We had them, but then we just let it slip away against Wingate last year. Not today.”

Catawba won outside, where Brown controlled the game with help from Madi Hallman. Hallman shot 0-for-6, but she did everything else well.

Catawba also won in the paint, where 5-foot-11 Terri Rogers got the best of Wingate’s 6-4 Marta Miscenko. Miscenko came in averaging 16.6 points per game, but she didn’t get her first point until the middle of the third quarter. By that point, Catawba led by 18.

Rogers had 16 points and six boards and got help on the glass and with neutralizing Miscenko from Alexis Newbold, who had seven rebounds.

“Miscenko is Wingate’s go-to person, and she has so much size that you can’t play behind her,” Catawba coach Angie Morton said. “Terri did a great job of working around her to stay in front, and Terri or Alexis got their hands on just about every pass they threw inside.”

Catawba (6-5, 4-1)  buried Wingate (9-2, 4-1)  in the first quarter, 16-5, with senior forward Marshauna Butler getting seven points.

Brown drilled two 3-balls in the second quarter, one on a kick-out by Rogers, plus a fortunate one after she scooped up a deflection.

“Everyone keeps telling me to stop thinking and keep shooting,” Brown said with a laugh. “I was ready to pull the trigger.”

Catawba’s 30-16 halftime lead swelled to 19 points late in the third quarter, as the Indians converted three three-point plays in a two-minute span. Rogers got the first one on an inbounds pass from underneath from Brown. Freshman Talia Barnes got the next two, finishing strong after accurate passes by Brown and Butler. When the 6-foot Barnes powered through Miscenko, a formidable shot-blocker, the Indians took a 49-31 lead to the final 10 minutes.

The fourth quarter was frantic, with Catawba trying to exhaust the shot clock on each possession and with Wingate pressing and trapping. Catawba turned it over often enough for Wingate to get as close as 56-47 on Caroline Averett’s runner with 53 seconds left, but Brown stepped to the foul line for four clutch free throws, and it was all over.

Catawba has beaten two of the league’s elite teams this week (Anderson and Wingate), holding both below 50 points. Now the Indians have to be considered one of the top teams.

“Those were very big wins,” Brown said. “We wanted to stay near the top. We don’t want to be chasing anyone.”

Catawba gets to enjoy this one for a while. The Indians won’t play again until Dec. 30, against Virginia Union in Richmond (2 p.m.).

Catawba 60, Wingate 47

WINGATE (47) — Witherspoon 13, Averette 8, Moody 8, Barrett 8, Miscenko 5, Robinson 4, Melvin 1, Helms, Simmons, Stephen.

CATAWBA (60) — Brown 18, Rogers 16, DeShazo 9, Barnes 8, Butler 7, Newbold 2, Hallman, Franklin, Stanback.

Wingate       5     11    15   16  — 47

Catawba       16    14     19  11 — 60