Winthrop snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday with a 47-35 win at Prebyterian College in the Big South opener for both schools.
The Lady Eagles put on a defensive clinic, holding the Blue Hose to 26 percent shooting while dominating on boards.
Nothing seemed easy for Winthrop on offense. But coach Bud Childers took full advantage of a deep bench to wear down the undermanned, undersized Blue Hose. He emptied his bench in the first half, using all 14 players. It was the first time in his 27-year coaching career he had used that tactic.
The Lady Eagles (5-6 overall, 1-0 in the Big South) only shot 32.7 percent for the game, but it was enough to get the win.
Senior Ashley Fann led the team with nine points, a season-high 15 rebounds, two assists and three steals. She has 10 steals in her last two games.
The 6-foot forward has to be a grinder to be effective. That style was missing for four games when her scoring average dipped to seven points. She scored seven of her nine points in the second half against the Blue Hose.
"The game plan the whole time was to go inside. The main thing for us is to start making shots," Fann said.
The Lady Eagles know they will need to score more points if they are to win games in the conference. They can't expect to hold every team to 35 points. Childers thinks his team needs to keep scores in the 50s or 60s to be successful. But getting back in the win column, in any fashion, is a good thing.
"If we can get 15 rebounds and 12 shots from (Fann) every night, I like our chances," Childers said.
Winthrop's defense was solid all night. They pressed -- and pressed well -- more than they have in any game since Childers arrived at the school five years ago. All the defensive work held PC's point total down. The 35 points allowed was a season-best for the Lady Eagles.
Winthrop went full-court late in the Campbell game and found some success. They worked hard on it in practice this week.
"We have a lot of potential with that style if we can go deep to our bench like that," Childers said.
It's hard to complain about a first half that saw Winthrop limit the Blue Hose to five field goals and 14 points. But there was still a lack of fluidity on offense and an ability to run out to a big lead.
"We turned a 28-point win into a 12-point win," Childers told his team after the game.
Winthrop's post players, Fann, Ashley Haugtvedt and Jennifer Walker, made just 7 of 23 shots from the floor. They helped the Eagles to a 53-28 rebounding advantage, but missed several putbacks that could have added a cushion to the lead.
Haugtvedt finished with four points and 10 boards. She was 2-for-7 from the floor. Point guard Yvonne van Daalen worked through foul trouble and netted nine points.
"We got chewed on the bench for missing so many shots. We have to get better at it," Haugtvedt said.
Presbyterian (2-9, 0-1) lost its sixth straight game. They're smaller than every team they will play in the conference. They only have eight players on the roster. There are no more on the way, and there are no injuries.
"Fatigue is a major issue, especially tonight when one fouls out," first-year PC coach Ronny Fisher said.
Presbyterian was led by guards Kaitlin Moore and Amanda Mills. Moore, a sophomore from Fort Mill, led all scorers with 13 points. Mills went for 11.