ROCK HILL, SC–Samiya Wright scored a season-high 19 points to lead four players in double figures as Winthrop downed Charleston Southern 69-49 to give the Eagles a 3-0 Big South Conference start for the first time in the program’s history.
Winthrop improves to 8-3 on the season while CSU drops to 4-7 and 1-2 in the league. Winthrop now leads the all-time series 44-39 and has won the last four meetings between the two schools.
Schaquilla Nunn scored 17 points while Erica Williams finished with 14 and Dequesha McClanahan had 10 to go along with 14 assists as she recorded her fifth double-double of the season. CSU was led by DJ Fowler with 16 points.
Winthrop shot 51.9 percent for the game on 27-52 field goals while holding the Buccaneers to 24.6 percent (17-69), the lowest percentage by an opponent this year. CSU went 4 of 29 from behind the arc for 13.8 percent.
The 49 points allowed equals a season-low by an opponent and marks the second straight game in which Winthrop has held an opponent to 50 points or below. “If we continue to defend like that, then we are going to be just fine,” said Eagles head coach Kevin Cook.
The Eagles trailed 9-8 just over four minutes into the game after a Fowler three-pointer, but that would be the last lead of the game for CSU as Winthrop 15-2 spurt to take a 23-11 lead with 10:51 left in the first half when Brianna Boyd scored inside off a pass from McClanahan. Winthrop increased the lead to 21 points at 44-23 with 1:35 on the clock when Pamela Decheva drilled a three ball from the deep left wing. Winthrop took a 44-25 lead at intermission.
“I was really pleased with our effort, our energy and our spirit in the first half,” said Cook about his team’s 44-25 lead. “I thought we got back to running and sprinting the court and that is when we are at our very best. Looking down the box score you can see we had tremendous balance today, and to see Dequesha with 14 assists shows once again that she doesn’t need to go out and score 20 for us to be successful. She is a very special player.”
Cook also said he couldn’t be happier for the performance of Wright. “She’s capable of this kind of performance each and every game. She works so hard on her game,” he said.
The Buccaneers trimmed the deficit to 14 points at 44-30 in the opening 2:17 of the second half on a three-point play by Fowler, but Winthrop responded again with a 13-4 run to takes its largest lead of the game at 57-34 on a three-pointer by Wright with 13:39 remaining to play. CSU then went on a 13-4 run of its own to get to within 14 once again at 61-47 when Erin Bratcher made a steal and layup to make it a 61-47 game with just over five minutes left.
Winthrop will now turn its attention to Thursday when it travels to UNC Asheville for a 7:00 p.m. game. That game will be the third of five for the Eagles over a 12-day stretch. “I told our team that we have one-fifth of our season in 12 days. That’s stacking a lot of games on top of each other. We have to be ready for each one of them.”