MOON TOWNSHIP, PA—Dequesha McClanahan scored 27 points and was a perfect 12 for 12 from the charity stripe as Winthrop stormed back from a halftime deficit to defeat Robert Morris, 62-53, in the RMU Thanksgiving Classic and snap a two-game skid.
With the victory, Winthrop improves to 5-2 and ties the 1972-73 and 1973-74 teams for the best record seven games into the season. Robert Morris saw its record fall to 3-3.
The 27-point performance by the Winthrop senior moves her to within five points of tying former men’s great Charles Brunson as the all-time leading scorer in school history. McClanahan now has 1,845 points. Sophomore center Schaquilla Nunn also came up with another strong effort as she claimed her fifth straight double-double and the 20th of her career with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Erica Williams also reached double figures with 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
“We battled a lot of things out there today and we came together as a team,” said Winthrop head coach Kevin Cook. “We took a big step forward with a win over a tough opponent on their home court.”
RMU was led by senior center Artemis Spanou who scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. She entered the Classic as the nation’s leading rebounder with 16 boards per game.
Winthrop outscored Robert Morris 39-21 in the final period after trailing by eight at halftime, 32-24. Winthrop jumped out to an early 19-7 lead just eight minutes, 21 seconds into contest, but the complexion of the game changed over the final 10 minutes of the first half after Nunn went to the bench after collecting her second personal foul and McClanahan followed about four minutes later when she was whistled for her second. Without them on the floor, the Eagles were not able to connect on a field goal. The Eagles were outscored 25-5 over the final 9:29. All five Eagle points came at the free throw line.
With Nunn out of the game, Spanou took advantage of her absence as she scored seven of her nine first half points in the final 10 minutes and the Colonials heated up from three-point range as they connected on five three balls during the 25-5 close. Three of those came from Lou Mataly, who came into the game averaging just over two points per game, but had nine in the first half.
Winthrop got out of gate fast in the second half and quickly erased the deficit, outscoring RMU 12-4 in the opening five minutes to knot the score at 36-36 on a spin move inside by Erica Williams. Cassie Oursler answered with a layup and an up-and-under move by Artemis Spanou put the Colonials ahead 40-36 with 13:35 left, Winthrop answered with a 12-0 run in just under five minutes to take control of the game at 48-40 with 8:51 left on a jumper by McClanahan.
RMU cut the lead to three at 54-51 on the eighth 3-pointer of the game for the Colonials when Ashley Ravelli drained a triple from the wing with 3:21 remaining, but McClanahan answered the bell by driving for a converting two free throws at the 2:58 mark and then driving the lane for a layup to put her team up
Robert Morris’ Artemis Spanou took advantage of Nunn’s absence as she scored seven of her nine first half points in the final 10 minutes and the Colonials heated up from three-point range as they connected on five three balls during the 25-5 close. Three of those came from Lou Mataly, who came into the game averaging just over two points per game, but had nine in the first half.
Winthrop will now take two weeks off for final exams and will return to action on Dec. 14 when it meets High Point on the road in the first Big South Conference game of the year.