JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman trailed by as many as 15 points, came back to take a three-point lead in the fourth quarter but Catawba made six free throws in the final 30 seconds to outlast the Lady Eagles 82-78 handing C-N back-to-back losses for the first time in 2015-16 Saturday at Holt Fieldhouse.
Catawba (12-10, 9-7 South Atlantic Conference) led for 38:45 of the contest and won its fourth straight game over Carson-Newman (15-7, 9-7 SAC).
"Catawba, give them credit, they came out and shot the ball well," Carson-Newman coach Mike Mincey said. "We shot it as poor as we've shot it in our gym all year. Catawba gets some credit for that defensively. We kept trying to come back and never really could in the first half. We get a lead by one and they just made more plays than we did down the stretch."
The Indians came out firing as Bri Johnson made three straight three-pointers to put her side ahead 9-3 at the outset of the game. Catawba shot 53 percent in the first quarter and held the Lady Eagles to 35-percent shooting to take a 24-17 lead after 10 minutes of play.
An 11-2 stretch spanned the final 2:08 of the first quarter to the 8:29 mark of the second quarter as the Indians pushed their lead to 13 points at 30-17. A 7-0 sequence by the Lady Eagles cut a 14-point deficit to seven at 38-31 before Catawba closed the half on a 6-0 spurt as Carson-Newman missed its last seven shots of the half and trailed 44-31 after 20 minutes of action.
Johnson led all scorers in the half scoring 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor as the Indians shot 53 percent from the field.
Eight players scored for the Lady Eagles but the home team shot just 31 percent and converted just 2 of 11 shots from the three-point arc.
Catawba extended its lead to 15 points at 46-31 with 9:21 remaining in the third quarter. Carson-Newman ran off 12 of the next 14 to cut the deficit to five points 48-43 and went into the fourth quarter trailing 56-53. The Lady Eagles went 10-for-15 from the floor in the frame compared to 4-for-13 for the Indians.
Carson-Newman used an 8-0 to take its only lead of the day as senior guard Jai Jai McLaughlin (Knoxville, Tenn.) used an and-1 to get the lead with 7:15 to play and a layup by freshman Ashton Wykle (Greeneville, Tenn.) made it 61-58 with 7:01 remaining.
The Indians quickly flipped the deficit into a five-point lead using a 10-2 run spanning two minutes to regain a 68-63 advantage. The Lady Eagles cut the score to 74-73 on a three-pointer by senior guard Tatum Burstrom (Maryville, Tenn.) with 2:21 to play but it was the closest the team would get the rest of the way as the Indians made all six of their foul shots in the final 25 seconds to hold onto the victory.
Burstrom passed assistant coach Ashley Kyle for 10th on the school's all-time scoring list on the day finishing with 16 points pushing her career tally to 1,144.
Johnson went for 31 points in the game on 12 of 20 shooting marking the first time a Carson-Newman opponent scored 31 points since her teammate, Jada Huntley, scored 31 in the SAC quarterfinals on March 4, 2015.
Carson-Newman welcomes 19th-ranked Anderson (S.C.) to Holt Fieldhouse Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. looking for a season sweep in the series with the Trojans. Broadcast coverage begins at 5:45 p.m. on 106.3 WPFT-FM and cneagles.com/live with The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to Tip-Off on the Eagle Sports Network.
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