Simpson’s jumper caps dramatic finish in Trojans 73-71 victory

Simpson’s jumper caps dramatic finish in Trojans 73-71 victory

VIDEO: Mike Mincey Interview

ANDERSON, S.C. – Senior guard Sierra Simpson hit a jump shot from the right elbow with 0.6 seconds to play to help the Anderson (S.C.) Trojans (20-3, 17-2 South Atlantic Conference) edge the Carson-Newman Lady Eagles (16-9, 10-9 SAC) Wednesday evening at the Abney Athletic Center.

"All I can tell the kids in the locker room with everything we have been through is that I was really proud of them," coach Mike Mincey said. "I was proud of their effort. I think they learned something from the Wingate game this past Saturday. We came out in the second half and I thought we had a pretty good stretch there. We had players making big time plays."

Carson-Newman had two leads in the game with the most recent lead coming at the 16:05 mark of the first half with the Lady Eagles leading 9-8. Mincey's squad regained the lead at 60-58 with 4:06 to play in the game on a layup by freshman Jecca Simerly (Talbott, Tenn.).

The Lady Eagles extended their lead to 63-60 with 3:39 to play on an and-1 by junior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.). Anderson took the lead back with 1:38 to play in the game at 67-65 after a floater from Nakia Young.

The score would be tied up again at 67, 69 and 71 with the final tie coming thanks to a driving layup from Simerly with 8.6 seconds to play in the game.

Simpson took the ensuing inbound without a timeout the length of the floor before pulling up in between a trio of Lady Eagle defenders on the right elbow and floating in a jumper to give Anderson the victory.

The Lady Eagles shot 67 percent from the floor in the second half, but the Trojans made 7 of their final 10 shot attempts to close out the game.

Anderson led by as many as 13 points in the first half but Carson-Newman closed the half on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 43-36 as junior forward Taylor Peterson (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) caught an inbound pass with 3.8 second to play and put in a layup and a foul to end the first half.

The biggest difference in the first half was at the free throw line as the Trojans made 11 of 12 attempts while the Lady Eagles went 3-for-6 from the line. Carson-Newman shot 50 percent in the first half and made 5 of 8 three-point attempts.

Peterson led all scorers after 20 minutes of action with 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting as she led a group of five Carson-Newman players to score. Anderson was led by Madison Floyd's 13 points, one shy of a career-high for the Trojan guard.

Carson-Newman shot a season-high 57 percent from the floor in the game that included making 6-for-9 three-point attempts.

Peterson reset her career high in points and rebounds with 21 points and seven boards while Simerly finished with 17 points and Burstrom scored 14 points in the second half to go along with five assists.

Five players scored in double digits for Anderson with no one scoring more than 13. Simpson, Floyd and Young each had 13 points for the Trojans.

Anderson is ranked third, the highest of any team in the SAC, in the regional rankings released by the NCAA Tuesday afternoon. Carson-Newman found itself in seventh, which would put the Lady Eagles in the tournament field.

"I think the kids were really focused and really engaged," Mincey said. "They found out they were still in the top eight of the region and I think they played like it today. I don't have any faults for them today. I thought they fought hard coming over here."

Carson-Newman finishes its regular season road slate Saturday afternoon with a journey to Queens (N.C.) for a 2 p.m. tip-off against the Royals. Pregame coverage begins at 1:45 p.m. on the Eagle Sports Network's flagship station 106.3 WPFT-FM and beginning with "The AEC Countdown to Tip-Off". 

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