Women’s basketball: Road win for shorthanded Catawba

Published 9:55 pm Saturday, January 2, 2021

Catawba’s Marissa Bruce. Photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post


Staff report

HICKORY — Catawba’s women’s basketball team overcame COVID quarantines and a feisty bunch of Lenoir-Rhyne Bears to stay unbeaten on Saturday afternoon.

Catawba played without four veterans who are normally in the rotation — starter Shemya Stanback, sixth person Janiya Downs and reserves Anna Gardner and Mercedes Wampler — but managed to take a 60-55 South Atlantic Conference victory against the winless Bears.

Emily Phillips started, got a lot more minutes than usual, and made the most of them. Phillips’ 4-for-6 3-point shooting kept Catawba in the game through some tough times.

Marissa Bruce turned in another strong effort off the bench with 10 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals. That’s the sort of stat line the Indians (4-0) normally expect to get from Stanback.

Catawba shot poorly in the second quarter and slid behind 27-24 at halftime.

The shooting issues persisted early in the third quarter, as the Indians fell behind by as many as eight points on several occasions.

But Catawba was able to turn the tide late in the third. Bruce connected for  back-to-back buckets to get the Indians within 44-42 as the quarter ended.

The Bears (0-4) led 48-47 with seven minutes left when Catawba put together  a decisive 7-0 run — buckets by  Sara McIntosh and Taisha DeShazo  around the fourth 3-pointer by Phillips.

DeShazo and Lyrik Thorne made the key plays at the end.

With Catawba clinging to a 54-53 lead with 1:28 remaining, DeShazo made a steal and layup.

In the final 14 seconds, Thorne made two steals and hit four free throws to seal the short-handed victory.

Hanna McClung had 16 points to pace the Bears.

Lenoir-Rhyne shot 37 percent. Catawba shot 44 percent.

The Indians committed 18 turnovers, but forced 20.

Catawba is scheduled to return to action at Queens on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

CATAWBA (60)   Phillips 14, DeShazo 12, Bruce 10, Thorne 10,  McIntosh 8, Ford 2, Davie 2, Barnes 2, Roberts, Sawyers.

LENOIR-RHYNE (55) — McClung 16, Harman 13, Crooks 10, Moore 5,  Sherrill 4, McBride 3, Hise 2, Wagner 2, Nunn.

Catawba                17    7    18  18   — 60

Lenoir-Rhyne      14  13   17   11    — 55


Bryanna Troutman (Salisbury) had 10 points and three rebounds for Wingate in Saturday’s 80-74 SAC win against Queens.


McKenzie Gadson (Carson) had five points and five rebounds in Anderson’s 67-49 win against Francis Marion on Saturday.


On New Year’s Eve, Bryson Childress (N. Stanly) led High Point with 17 points in a 60-51 loss to USC Upstate.