Women: Winthrop 62, UNC Asheville 55

Winthrop weathers UNC-Asheville rally, wins 62-55

Herald correspondentFebruary 8, 2014 


Winthrop coach Kevin Cook said he wasn’t inclined to come to the rescue of his Eagles women’s basketball team when they hit a rough patch in the second half of their game against UNC Asheville on Saturday afternoon.

“I don’t coddle my team, and I’m not likely to bail them out with a timeout,” Cook said of his strategy after the Eagles had almost all of a double-digit lead disappear in a hard-fought Big South Conference game. “They’re good at not panicking, and they can figure out what to do next.”

So Winthrop played on and hung on for its fifth straight victory, a 62-55 decision over the Bulldogs (9-14, 6-8). The Eagles (18-6, 12-3) remain in first place in the conference, a half-game ahead of second-place High Point. The Panthers kept pace with an 81-73 win over Coastal Carolina on Saturday.

“This is the kind of game that will help us down the stretch,” Cook said.

Senior guard Dequesha McClanahan and freshman forward Erica Williams scored 19 points each for Winthrop and sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

But the Eagles could never quite shake the Bulldogs despite a sizzling shooting start – they hit 57 percent of their shots from the field in the first half. Winthrop grabbed its largest lead of the game at 32-17 with 7:26 left in the first half.

The Eagles went to halftime with a 40-29 lead. But UNC Asheville, led by 16 points (four 3-pointers) from senior guard Paige Love, put together an 11-4 run to open the second half and stayed close until the final minutes.

A jump shot by Leah Wormack brought the Bulldogs within two at 50-48 with 7:37 to play. But junior guard Taylor Calvert’s only basket of the game and a jump shot by McClanahan gave Winthrop the breathing room it needed to put the game away.

“It’s a team sport and you have to pull together to win,” McClanahan said. “We tried to concentrate on playing good defense and rebounding the ball.”

The Eagles had a healthy 48-35 advantage in rebounding, with Calvert adding 10 boards.

“That’s been a point of emphasis,” Cook said. “I thought we played together and we played relatively smart, especially when the game got close.”

NOTES: McClanahan topped the 2,100 career points mark in the game. She needs 51 more to break the Big South career scoring record held by Liberty’s Elena Kisseleva with 2,154 points … The Eagles get a week off before their next game, against Radford at 1 p.m. Saturday at Winthrop Coliseum.

Winthrop 62, UNC Asheville 55

UNC Asheville2926-55

UNC ASHEVILLE (9-14, 6-8) Jeannie Buckner 1-5 0-1 3, Leah Wormack 4-10 2-2 10, Brittany Gwyn 2-5 3-4 8, Paige Love 6-12 4-6 16, Shonese Jones 1-10 0-0 2, Chatori Major 0-0 0-0 0, Tianna Knuckles 2-7 2-3 6, Ja’Da Brayboy 2-6 0-1 4, KJ Weaver 2-6 2-5 6. Totals 20-61 9-16 55.

WINTHROP (18-6, 12-3) Schaquilla Nunn 5-10 0-0 10, Erica Williams 7-12 5-6 19, Taylor Calvert 1-6 0-2 2, Dequesha McClanahan 7-13 4-6 19, Samiya Wright 3-10 0-0 6, Cat Wells 0-0 0-0 0, Tiffany Charles 1-2 0-0 2, Brianna Boyd 1-2 0-0 2, Pamela Decheva 1-3 0-1 2. Totals 26-58 9-16 62. .

Three-point goals: UNC-Asheville 6-21 (Love 4-6), Winthrop 1-13 (McClanahan 1-4). Fouled out – None, Rebounds: UNC-Asheville 35 (Wormack, Love 6). Winthrop 48 (Nunn 11). Assists — UNC-Asheville 5 (Love 2). Winthrop 8 (McClanahan, Wright 3). Total fouls — UNC-Asheville 19, Winthrop 17. Technical fouls —None. A-569.

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