Women’s college basketball: Rough outing for Catawba

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Staff report

PEMBROKE — It’s been a solid start to the season for the Catawba women’s basketball team, but the Indians closed pre-Christmas activity with a clunker.

UNC Pembroke beat Catawba 67-58 on Monday night on Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court in the Jones Center.

A crowd of 202 watched UNCP pull off an upset in the non-conference matchup.

The key stat was a wild disparity in free-throw opportunities. UNC Pembroke (6-6) was 28-for-34 on free throws, while Catawba (9-3) was 5-for-11.

That 23-point edge on free throws was a major problem, but it might have been overcome had Catawba played better. But the Indians turned in one of their shakier games on the road, with 7-for-25 3-point shooting, 35.4-percent accuracy from the field and 18 turnovers.

UNCP also turned it over 18 times, but Catawba normally thrives on a big turnover differential fueled by steals. That didn’t happen.

Lyrik Thorne scored 20 and had seven assists and three steals to lead the Indians, but even Thorne didn’t have her best night night, with 1-for-8 on 3-pointers and 6 turnovers.

Catawba needs points from Janiya Downs and Sara McIntosh and usually gets them, but they combined for only nine.

Jada Porter was the only Indian who was stellar. She scored 17 off the bench. Her five efficient 3-pointers kept Catawba in the game.

Somehow Catawba managed to lead 27-25 at halftime, but UNC Pembroke dominated the third quarter 25-13 to take a 50-40 lead, and the Indians couldn’t rally.

Hannah Russell scored 22 for the Braves, while Courtney Smith had 18. Smith made 12 free throws, while Russell made seven.

Catawba won’t play again until it hosts Lenoir-Rhyne on Wednesday, Jan. 4. That will be a key South Atlantic Conference contest.

Catawba    17   10   13   18   — 58

UNCP       13   12    25   17  — 67

Catawba scoring — Thorne 20, Porter 17, Downs 5, McIntosh 4, Wampler 4, Foskey 4, Dubose 3, Spry 1.