Winthrop’s women tied a season high with 29 turnovers in a 84-69 loss to Campbell Saturday at the Coliseum. The visiting Camels led all but a few moments of the contest, shooting nearly 70 percent from 3-point range and forcing the Eagles into a number of costly offensive miscues. Coach Wanda Watkins’ team scored 30 points off Winthrop’s turnovers, the decisive factor in the contest.
“You force 29 turnovers, you certainly hope you win,” she said after the victory, her team’s third on the road.
The loss slammed the breaks on Winthrop’s eight-game win streak, the 17th longest in the country at the time. Campbell (16-8, 8-5) also exacted a bit of revenge on the Eagles (15-9, 9-3), who beat them 76-53 in Buies Creek on Jan. 26.
“We made a few defensive adjustments,” Watkins said afterward, adding, “I guess I’ll keep those (a secret).”
“For one reason or another, we never got into our rhythm,” said Winthrop coach Kevin Cook. “I thought we were prepared for it, but obviously their trap caused us a lot more difficulties this game.”
Campbell aggressively denied Winthrop’s three main perimeter offensive threats – Dequesha McClanahan, Diana Choibekova and Aliyah Kilpatrick – easy reception of the ball, while the Eagles contributed to their problems with several unforced errors. McClanahan led all scorers with 27 points, and Choibekova added 15, all in the first half. Kilpatrick had 16.
While the Eagles labored for offense, points came easily to Watkins’ orange-clad squad. They hit 9 of 13 3-pointers, with Kiera Gaines nailing all five of her attempts en route to a Campbell-high 23 points. Gaines only scored six in the two teams’ first meeting, but she was hot Saturday, as was Tonisha Baker, who pitched in 20, 16 of those coming in the second half.
Winthrop led at halftime by an average of 13 points in its past six wins during the streak, but they trailed 41-34 Saturday in front of a season high crowd of over 600 fans.
“It was a slow start,” Cook said. “You play so many games on the road, finally get to play at home, a nice crowd showed up, and I think we were trying to get off to a 10 and 12-point lead on the first possession.”
When the streaky Eagles did make second half runs, the Camels always had an answer. Winthrop clawed to within six points, at 51-45 with about 12 minutes left, but Zena Lovette hit a corner 3, Gaines knocked in a deep one from the elbow, Baker drilled a triple from the top of the key and Gaines capped the 13-point run with a 3 plus the foul. 13 points in just over 2 minutes stunned the Eagles.
“We had it to six and it went to 15,” said Cook. “And that ended up being the final margin.”
A dreadful first half made a tough climb steeper for the Eagles. They turned the ball over 16 times in the first 20 minutes, leading directly to 19 Campbell points. Compounding matters, the Camels, the Big South’s best 3-point shooting team, hit 5 of 6 triples in the period.
Gaines helped break a Winthrop press and found Roslyn Presley wide open under the bucket for a 30-19 Campbell lead, before Monique Spry knocked in a baseline jumper to give the visitors their largest lead of the first half at 32-19 with just over 4 minutes left in the first half.
Choibekova almost single-handedly kept Winthrop in the game, hitting 4 of 6 3-pointers in the first half. She bombed in two in the last 1 minute, 28 seconds to help Cook’s team stay close despite one of their worst halves of the season.
Campbell (84): Kiera Gaines 7-9 4-5 23, Tonisha Baker 6-12 7-10 20, Zena Lovette 4-6 0-0 11, Ashley James 3-10 1-2 7, Monique Spry 2-5 0-0 4, Roslyn Presley 4-6 9-10 17, RaeChaun Edwards 0-5 2-2 2, Juli Osborne 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 23-29 84.
Winthrop (69): Dequesha McClanahan 10-21 5-6 27, Aliyah Kilpatrick 6-11 4-5 16, Diana Choibekova 5-9 1-2 15, Schaquilla Nunn 2-5 2-2 6, Taylor Calvert 0-1 2-4 2, Samiya Wright 1-3 1-4 3, Tiffany Charles 0-1 0-0 0, Ashley Porter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-51 15-23 69.
3-pointers Campbell 9-13 (Gaines 5), Winthrop 6-14 (Choibekova 4). Rebounds Campbell 29 (Gaines 6), Winthrop 34 (Nunn 8). Assists Campbell 15 (Baker 4), Winthrop 9 (Kilpatrick 4). Att. 607.