Winthrop women’s basketball continued its resurgent 2018-19 season Saturday with a last-second road win at Gardner-Webb.
Lynette Woodard’s program capped a 2-0 week in league play with a 64-62 victory thanks to Jah’Che Whitfield’s off balance shot from the baseline with less than 2 seconds to play. The Eagles hadn’t won more than four games the last three seasons, but already are 8-9 this campaign, including 4-2 in Big South action.
Kem Nwabudu led Winthrop with 15 points, while Whitfield chipped in 12. The Eagles overcame 23 turnovers by holding Gardner-Webb to 32 percent shooting from the floor. Winthrop fell behind in the first quarter, but outscored the Runnin’ Bulldogs by eight in the final quarter to win a second straight league game, after beating Campbell last Tuesday. The Eagles are back in action at home on Jan. 22 against Hampton, which is 4-1 in the conference.
And the men also picked up a road victory thanks to a strong second half at USC Upstate. The Eagles (12-6, 4-1 Big South) trailed 47-39 at halftime, but outscored the host Spartans by 18 in the second half on the way to a 82-72 win.
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Nych Smith topped Winthrop’s scoring efforts with 23 off the bench. Adam Pickett had a strong game, especially getting into the lane, and he finished with 16. Kyle Zunic added 14, including four 3-pointers. An 8-0 run got Winthrop back into the game in the second half, and a 9-0 run put them in the lead for good.
The Eagles continued a strong season of rebounding, besting the Spartans 47-34 on the backboards. That proved crucial during Winthrop’s second half surge, because Upstate only shot 25 percent in the second 20 minutes, which led to a number of one shot-and-done possessions for the Spartans (5-15, 0-5).
Winthrop’s men are back in action almost immediately, hosting UNC Asheville Monday at 2 p.m. Five different times this season Pat Kelsey’s team will play two games in three days, a scheduling quirk owing mainly to the Big South having an odd number 11 teams. The Eagles beat Asheville in the Big South opener earlier this month, 80-65.
Big South Conference basketball standings (as of Jan. 20, 2019)