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College basketball: Catawba women can’t overcome foul trouble

By Mike London
mike.london@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Catawba post player Talia Barnes took a pass from Mercedes Wampler, faked right, wheeled left and powered in a three-point play with 5:21 remaining.

The Indians still trailed Lincoln Memorial by four points, but there was every reason to believe that even on a day when a lot had gone wrong, they were going to pull out another one. After all, they hadn’t lost at home all season.

But the Indians’ next two possessions were a turnover and a missed layup. Then, following a media timeout, LMU reserve Linday Proffitt made the biggest shot of Saturday afternoon’s game at Goodman Gym, confidently nailing a 3-pointer from the right wing to push the visitors’ lead to seven.

Catawba missed a defensive rotation on that 3-pointer and paid for it.

“That shot took the wind out of us,” said Catawba freshman Emily Phillips, who played one of her best games of the season. “We had something going. Then, all of a sudden, they had the momentum back.”

Lincoln Memorial went on to beat foul-plagued Catawba, 72-59. It was a game between two evenly matched teams that sit in the middle of the pack in the South Atlantic Conference.

Catawba (8-6, 3-4) needed this one, but didn’t get it.

“Frustrating day,” Catawba head coach Terrence Baxter said. “Honestly, I think if we get that one defensive stop out of that timeout, we win the ballgame. But she (Proffitt) made a big shot.”

Catawba shot so poorly from the field (30 percent) that it negated its 20-10 advantage in offensive rebounds. The Indians were 8-for-27 on 3-pointers, while LMU (8-6, 4-3) was 8-for-13.

LMU senior guard Rachel Griffith was the best player on the floor, scoring 21 points and adding six assists and five steals. She did a lot of the ball-handling for the Railsplitters, but turned it over only once in 39 minutes. Her twin sister, Emily, also hurt Catawba with 10 points and three assists.

“They’ve got seniors and we’ve got mostly freshman and sophomores,” Baxter said. “That showed up at times today.”

Freshmen forwards Wampler and Phillips jumped off the bench and saved the Indians in the first half. Both of them nailed two 3-pointers. Catawba led 32-31 at the break.

“I’ve been in a slump, so I just tried to give the team some energy,” Wampler said. “I did better today at letting the game come to me.”

Catawba’s biggest issue was the foul trouble that limited Shemya Stanback, the ball-pushing sophomore guard who provides Catawba’s speed. Stanback got two fouls in the first quarter and was on the floor only 10 minutes before fouling out.

Not having Stanback available put almost all of the ball-handling responsibility on Madi Hallman. That limited Hallman’s scoring contributions.

“Stanback is also a really big factor for us defensively,” Phillips said. “When she got in foul trouble, it hurt, but the rest of us just needed to work harder to make up for it.”

Not having Stanback slowed Catawba down dramatically. The Indians had only four points on fast breaks. Both of those buckets came when Stanback took it all the way from the backcourt to the rim.

“Without Shemya, we didn’t get easy buckets, we had to work for every shot,” Baxter said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board and look at things. There are times when maybe it’s going to be better for her to give up a layup than to foul. We need her.”

Sophomore Taisha DeShazo didn’t have her best shooting day, but she still led the Indians with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Barnes, another sophomore, managed eight points and seven rebounds before fouling out.

•••

Catawba hosts Queens, one of the bottom teams in the SAC, on Wednesday. … Baxter got his first technical foul. It came after a late whistle on the sideline near the Catawba bench. Baxter explained that he was signaling to his team, but a referee thought Baxter was gesturing at her.

LMU (72) — R. Griffith 21, Newsome 11, E. Griffith 10, Maxwell 10, Proffitt 10, Kirkpatrick, Jachimczuk 4, Caudle 2, Maney, Kiser, Quarles.

CATAWBA (59) — DeShazo 14, Wampler 9, Barnes 8, Hallman 8, Phillips 7, Stanback 6, Webb 5, Garris 2, Gardner, Davie.

LMU            13    18    20   21  — 72

Catawba      15    17   14    13    — 59

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