Winthrop's women's basketball team got double digit points from Tiffany Rodd, Jessica Fansler and Yvonne van Daalen on Sunday and downed Johnson C. Smith 65-45 in a non-conference match up at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The Lady Eagles, playing at home for the first time in a month, overcame a sluggish start and some spurts of sloppy play to improve to 7-3, their best start since becoming an NCAA Division I member.
Johnson C. Smith had its four-game winning streak end and dropped to 4-2 on the season. The Golden Bulls played without leading scorer Kyria Buford (17.4 points per game), who missed the game because of a death in the family.
"We were trying hard," Winthrop coach Bud Childers said, "but I thought we were mentally sluggish and a step off on defense.
"I guess that's to be expected when you consider we hadn't played in a week and have had an erratic practice schedule because of exams."
Winthrop found it hard to get into its offense in the early going, especially when it came to the 3-point shot.
Winthrop missed its first seven 3-pointers before Fansler connected with 11:39 left to give Winthrop a 7-5 lead.
The Lady Eagles would then use the 3-point shot -- they hit six of their next eight -- to key a run that turned into a 28-9 lead with 4:10 remaining in the half.
That's when they lost focus and allowed the Golden Bulls to get back to within nine.
It's a scenario to which Childers has become accustomed.
"We built a nice lead there in the first half, then we got sloppy," Childers said. "That's the third straight game that we got a sizeable lead in the first half then let the other team back in.
"We need more of a killer instinct. It's disappointing when we worked so hard to get a nice lead, then give it away."
Winthrop would build another 18-point lead in the second half, only to stumble slightly. The Golden Bulls got to within 12 with just under 10 minutes showing.
This time, however, the Lady Eagles regrouped and steadily pulled away.
"We out-rebounded them by 16, and that was a goal of ours," Childers said. "We forced them into a lot of turnovers (24) and we held them to 31 percent shooting.
"You have to be happy when you look at the stats."
Winthrop dominated several other statistics -- points in the paint (26-12), points off turnovers (28-12), second-chance points (26-3) and 3-pointers (9-1). The Lady Eagles, who got off to a terrible start from behind the arc, finished hitting nine of their last 17.
J.C. Smith did shoot 13 more free throws, taking 19 to Winthrop's four. Ashley Chase led the Golden Bulls with 16 points, while Rochelle Bodie added 13.
Winthrop's Ashley Fann was off her game offensively -- she scored just six points on 3-of-8 shooting -- but she did seven rebounds, three assists, a pair of blocks and two steals. Ashley Haugtvedt also had seven rebounds to go with nine points.
The Lady Eagles will finish up exams today and Tuesday then return to the practice floor Wednesday to prepare for Monday's home matchup with Georgia State. That game tips off at 7 p.m.
J.C. Smith 21 24 -- 45
Winthrop 30 35 -- 65