College basketball: Catawba women lose critical home game

Published 10:00 pm Monday, February 7, 2022

Staff report

SALISBURY — There are still big games ahead, but Wingate’s women’s basketball team may look back on Monday as the night the Bulldogs won the South Atlantic Conference championship.

Wingate beat Catawba 65-60 at Goodman Gym despite marvelous game by Catawba guard Lyrik Thorne. She shot 14-for-21, made five 3-pointers and scored 34 points.

Yes, 34.

The problem for Catawba was that Thorne was the only one who had a good night. Taisha DeShazo, Sheyma Stanback and Janiya Downs, three starters who have had great games for the Indians, combined to shoot 3-for-26. Catawba’s post scorer Sara McIntosh shot 3-for-10.

As a team, even with Thorne playing like an All-American, the Indians shot 32.4% — and 32.4% won’t beat Wingate.

The Indians fired away from 3-point range. They went 9-for-35. That’s 25.7%. Take away Thorne’s 5-for-10, and they were 4-for-25. That’s 16%.

The 16th-ranked Bulldogs (20-2, 18-1) got 17 points from Bryanna Troutman, a Salisbury High product who had her battles with Ledford graduate Thorne in their high school days in the Central Carolina Conference.

It was a homecoming for Troutman in the gym where she played in high school Christmas tournaments. Quiet in the first half, the junior forward finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. She scored on an offensive board with 8:12 left to put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 50-49. She contributed a huge three-point play right after that. If Wingate wins the league, she has a very good chance to be SAC Player of the Year.

Wingate also got strong games from Haleigh Brandon (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Hannah Clark (16 points). Together, Troutman, Brandon and Clark were able to overcome Thorne.

Ranked 17th in Division II, Catawba shot only six free throws and got beaten on the boards, 46-32.

Catawba made it a close game by forcing 19 turnovers, while only committing seven.

Wingate is up two games in the SAC now, with Carson-Newman (18-4, 15-3), Catawba (17-3, 14-3) and Anderson (15-8, 15-4) pursuing the Bulldogs.

A pessimist might point out that Catawba is 0-3 against the other three contenders.

But an optimist would say that Catawba gets to play all three of them one more time.

Wingate    17    16    13    19  — 65

Catawba   9       20  18   13   — 60

WINGATE — Troutman 17, Brandon 17, Clark 16, Sullivan 7, Wilson 4, Davis 2, Hurley 2.

CATAWBA — Thorne 34, McIntosh 6, Ford 6, Wampler 5, DeShazo 4, Stanback 3, Downs 2.