Wingate turns over Lady Eagles in SAC Semifinals, 66-49
Hickory, N.C.---- The Wingate Bulldogs forced 25 turnovers, 18 in the first half, to fuel a 66-49 win over fifth-seeded Carson-Newman in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference women's basketball tournament semi-finals Saturday.
Wingate University senior guard Kurie Washington (Marion, N.C.) and senior forward Simone Rutledge (Atlanta, Ga.) combined for 30 points to lead the Bulldogs. Washington and Rutledge combined to hit 13-of-24 field goals on the night.
The 2012 SAC regular season champions, Wingate improves to 21-7 overall. The Bulldogs will play the Catawba-Newberry winner in Sunday's 4:30 p.m. championship contest. Wingate has won six Food Lion SAC tournament championship crowns. Carson-Newman concludes the 2011-12 season 17-11 overall.
Washington led the Bulldogs with 16 points, while Rutledge contributed 14 markers. Rutledge helped Wingate outscore Carson-Newman 38-20 in the paint. Bulldog sophomore guard Nikki Burton (Charlotte, N.C.) added 13 points. The first team All-SAC selection filled out her statistics sheet with five rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Senior forward Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.) led the Carson-Newman attack with 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. Junior forward Whitney Moody (Blountville, Tenn.) added 10 points for the Eagles.
On the evening, Wingate shot 48.3 percent from the floor (28-of-58). In the second half, the Bulldogs nailed 56 percent of their field goal attempts (14-of-25). On the other end, Carson-Newman managed only 36.2 percent from the floor (17-of-47). The Eagles hit only 33.3 percent after intermission (nine-of-27).
Wingate led 35-23 at halftime, thanks to 11 first-half markers by Burton. A Rutledge lay-up on a Burton feed gave the Bulldogs a 20-9 lead at the 8:37 mark. Carson-Newman rallied, cutting the deficit to 23-18 on a three-point field goal by senior guard Megan Hunter (Ashland City, Tenn.) with 3:59 left.
The Eagles would get no closer the rest of the way, as an old-fashioned three-point play by Burton nudged the Bulldog lead to 33-20 with 90 seconds to go. Washington concluded the opening stanza with two free throws (0:07) to give Wingate its 35-23 halftime lead.
A Moody triple made the score 37-29 Wingate with 16:46 remaining. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run to take a 46-29 lead on a jumper by freshman forward Brooklyn Boston (Lenoir, N.C.) at the 11:14 mark. The Eagles did not cut the deficit to single digits in the waning moments.
Carson-Newman outrebounded Wingate by a 34-31 margin. Bulldog sophomore guard Janitsha Williams (Statesville, N.C.) had six rebounds to lead Wingate's balanced effort. Burton was next with her five caroms, while Washington and Rutledge pulled four rebounds each.
Wingate converted 25 Carson-Newman turnovers into 21 points. The Eagles scored 16 points off 14 Bulldog miscues. Wingate's 14 steals allowed the Bulldogs to score 16 fast-break points. Wingate junior forward Tish Logan (Suitland, Md.) had four steals to compliment Burton's five-steal effort.