ANDERSON, S.C. – A second-half offensive surge and free-throw accuracy down the stretch lifted the second-seeded Anderson women’s basketball team past seventh-seeded Pfeiffer, 77-65, in the opening round of the Conference Carolinas Tournament Monday night at the Abney Athletic Center. Anderson moves on to Thursday’s semifinals improving to 18-10 while the Lady Falcons end their season 13-15.
The two teams were meeting for the second time in three days, as Anderson defeated the Lady Falcons, 79-57, just two nights ago in the regular-season finale to claim the second seed in the tournament. The Trojans have won three straight and eight of their last nine and advances to Thursday’s tournament semifinals, where the Trojans will play host to No. 6 seed Belmont Abbey, which upset third-seeded Limestone, 75-67, in other action around the league tonight.
Anderson fell behind early, 4-0, as the Trojans came up empty on their first four possessions, but senior guard Shanice Wilson got AU on the scoreboard with two free throws at the 17:34 mark and freshman Amanda Parris ignited a 9-2 outburst with the first of four consecutive 3-pointers from the left side, giving Anderson a lead it would not relinquish at 5-4 and her fourth straight 3 boosted the Trojans’ advantage to 14-9 with 14:24 on the clock after a Domonique China trey on the other end had trimmed AU’s lead to just two.
The Trojans edged out to the largest lead of the first half at 18-9 when senior forward Korie Sellers dropped in a short jumper from the left baseline, but Pfeiffer countered with six unanswered points, capped by China’s bucket.
Anderson claimed a pair of nine-point leads inside the six-minute mark, the second coming on a 3-pointer from junior Lauren Beeson, but again the Lady Falcons chipped away as Christina Harvey scored three of Pfeiffer’s final seven points of the half to help pull the visitors back within 34-30 at the break.
The Anderson cushion held strong until midway through the final frame as the Lady Falcons climbed within three points twice, the final time on a Brittany Cox 3 from the right wing with 9:05 left, but the Trojans answered with a 10-2 outburst to claim a 58-47 advantage and went on to hit a perfect 12-of-12 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Lady Falcons.
The battle of the boards was even at 36-36 and the two teams forced almost an equal number of turnovers, with Anderson committing 18 and Pfeiffer turning the ball over 19 times. The Trojans finished the night shooting 91.4 percent (32-of-35) from the line, their third-highest percentage of the season.
Harvey scored a game-high 19 points for Pfeiffer, while China added 14 points.
Beeson led four Trojans in double figures with 14 points and Alexa Neal chipped in 13 points and a game-high five assists. Parris finished with 12 points, all in the first half, and Siniard and Wilson each added 10 points.