Women’s basketball: Catawba falls in tournament semis

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, March 4, 2021

Catawba’s Janiya Downs. Photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post.


Staff report

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The two best defensive teams in the South Atlantic Conference battled in a tournament semifinal Thursday and Catawba’s women’s basketball team came up short.

Third-seeded Catawba lost 60-53 at second-seeded Tusculum.

Catawba shot 30.9 percent from the field, with only four made 3-pointers, as the Pioneers (17-3) beat the Indians (10-3) for the second time this season.

Three COVID pauses severely limited the number of games Catawba has been able to play.

Catawba’s forte has been a high-pressure defense led by quick guards Shemya Stanback (A.L. Brown) and Lyrik Thorne.  The Indians are first in the SAC in steals per game, turnover margin and turnovers forced per game. They were able to force 15 turnovers on Thursday. Catawba committed 13.

Tusculum had zero second-chance points, but shot 43.8 percent from the field and was a deadly 9-for-15 from the 3-point line.

Catawba had a 13-4 edge in offensive rebounds and had nine second-chance points.

Catawba was 15-for-18 from the foul line, but missed 11 layups.

Janiya Downs (South Rowan) came off the bench to score 18 for the Indians. She shot 6-for-12 and made two 3-pointers.

Thorne made Catawba’s other two 3s.

Stanback scored 11, while Thorne had 10.

Taisha DeShazo had nine rebounds and three assists. Sara McIntosh had eight points and three steals.

Catawba’s last lead was at 12-10 in the first quarter.

Tusculum led 29-21 at halftime.

Catawba got back within three points in the third quarter and was never out of the game, but the Pioneers prevented the Indians from going on one of their patented runs.

Maddie Sutton scored 22 for Tusculum.

Tusculum will host eighth-seeded Lincoln Memorial in Sunday’s championship game, with an automatic regional berth on the line. Lincoln Memorial eliminated Anderson 64-62.

Catawba, which lost 68-61 to Tusculum in Salisbury, will hope for a regional bid.

Catawba is one of four SAC teams, along with UVa-Wise, regular-season champ Carson-Newman and Tusculum listed in the Southeast Regional rankings.

Other stout teams in the region include Belmont Abbey, Barton, Tuskegee and Emmanuel.

CATAWBA (53) — Downs 18, Stanback 11, Thorne 10, McIntosh 8, DeShazo 4, Wampler 2, Bruce, Phillips, Barnes, Ford.

TUSCULUM (60) — Sutton 22, Arnwine 13, Rodrigues 10, Dixon 5, Belton 5, Click 3, Miller 2.

Catawba   12     9 15  17  — 53

Tusculum  13   16 15  16  — 60