Winthrop’s women outscored Presbyterian College by 14 points from the free throw line, including four straight by Erica Williams in the final 20 seconds, to help the Eagles pull out a 54-51 Big South Conference victory Saturday afternoon at the Winthrop Coliseum.
The win, Winthrop’s second straight on the season and fifth straight over the Blue Hose, improves the Eagles to 6-4 in the conference and 10-9 overall, while Presbyterian drops to 5-5 and 10-9. Winthrop now leads the overall series 19-3.
The trio of Schaquilla Nunn, Aliyah Kilpatrick and Williams led Winthrop. They combined to score 40 of their team’s 54 points. Nunn had her eighth double-double of the season with a game-high 15 points and 14 rebounds. Williams scored 13, and Kilpatrick finished with 12. Keyonna Allen led Presbyterian with 12 points, while Cortney Storey had 10.
The outcome of the game came down to the final 1 minute, 6 seconds, when Winthrop was awarded the ball out of bounds under its own basket following a video review that reversed a shot clock violation whistle. The officials ruled the Winthrop shot taken by Samiya Wright did graze the side of the rim just before the shot clock expired.
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Winthrop got the ball to Kilpatrick who worked the clock down and drove the lane in traffic. Her off-balance off-hand jumper banked in with 40 seconds remaining to give Winthrop its largest lead of the game at 50-46. Presbyterian’s Storey cut the lead to a point with a 3-pointer at 24 ticks left on the clock. Winthrop was able to get the ball to Williams who calmly knocked down both free throws with 20 seconds to push the lead back to three points at 52-49.
Blue Hose guard Janie Miles answered with a layup with four seconds remaining to make it a one-point game again. Williams was fouled again and went back to the line, where she made two more free throws. A half-court 3-point attempt by Aianna Kelly was wide left.
“We felt pretty good with Erica at the line,” Winthrop head coach Kevin Cook said. “I just trust her in those situations. As I thought she was immediately fouled and she went down and knocks them both in. We did give them a chance to shoot a three that would have tied the game at the end. When we gather on Monday for practice, we will go (over) that situation because we can’t let a team take a shot.”
Presbyterian, which came into the game ranked 3rd in the nation for scoring defense, 6th in field goal percentage defense and 7th in 3-point FG defense, made it tough for the Eagles to score from the floor. Winthrop shot 36 percent (18 of 50) for the game and went 2 of 13 from behind the arc (15.4 pct.), but the difference in the game came at the free throw line and on the offensive boards where Winthrop had a 14-1 advantage on second-chance points.
Winthrop converted 16 of 21 free throws, while Presbyterian was 2 for 6. From the floor, the Blue Hose connected on 42 percent overall (22 of 52) and 5 of 13 from three land.
“When they score 14 more points than you from the free throw line, you’re going to have a tough time beating them, and that’s what it came down to,” Presbyterian coach Ronny Fisher said.
Winthrop will return to action on Tuesday when the Eagles travel to Longwood for a rematch. Winthrop won the first meeting this year, 81-48, on Dec. 30.