LAURINBURG, N.C.—Senior forward Danielle Norman (Bronx, N.Y.) tallied her ninth double-double of the season while junior Desiree Jones (Tulsa, Okla.) scored 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting to lead host St. Andrews Presbyterian College to a 79-72 Conference Carolinas women’s basketball victory over visiting Coker College on Thursday night in Harris Court.
The Lady Knights, who improved to 4-12 overall and 3-7 in the league, had one of their better shooting performances of the year connecting on 46.7% of their shots. The Lady Cobras (3-14, 2-8) dropped their fourth consecutive game.
Norman, who currently ranks No. 16 nationally in rebounds per game, pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds while scoring a team-high 19 points for her ninth double-double in 14 games. Norman also had a season-high three blocks.
“Danielle (Norman) is our leader and she shows it night in and night out,” said St. Andrews fourth year head coach David Johnson. “Even though she is battling through an injury, she keeps fighting through it on both ends of the court.”
Jones dished out a game-high seven assists to go along with her 16 points in over 36 minutes of action. In her first back from injury, senior guard Erika Thompson (Kalamazoo, Mich.) made a big impact for the Lady Knights with eight points, six rebounds, and a game-high five steals in over 34 minutes of time on the court.
After having a full active roster for the first time in eight games Johnson explained, “It was good to have everyone back and into their proper roll. We were able to have our best decision makers on the court tonight and use our subs properly. Everybody was a lot more confident on the court. Also, Desiree (Jones) keeps getting better and better playing tons of minutes for us. She has become very good at being our floor leader while also doing a good job on defense for us.”
Coker sophomore Henna Koponen (Vantaa, Finland) and senior Temeca Spain (Conway, S.C.) led all scorers with 24 and 21 points, respectively. Spain just missed a double-double with eight rebounds. Sophomore Lotta Aaltonen (Rauma, Finland) was the third Cobra in double-digits with 12 points while pulling down six boards.
St. Andrews held a five-point lead, 38-33, at halftime by making 14-of-30 (46.7%) shots from the floor and 9-of-10 (90.0%) free throws. Coker took 10 more shots with 13 offensive rebounds but only made 14-of-40 (35.0%).
Trailing by one with just under nine minutes left before halftime, the Lady Knights went on a 14-5 run -- capped by a Norman basket -- over the next six minutes to take an eight-point lead. A freshman Jacquelyn Adcock (Damascus, Md.) lay-up in the last minute gave St. Andrews its largest lead of the half, 38-29, but a pair of hoops by Aaltonen and Koponen in the final 30 seconds cut the Knights lead at the intermission to five, 38-33.
Senior forward April Johnson (McColl, S.C.) led the Knights into the locker room scoring all 10 of her points in the first 20 minutes on 5-of-7 shooting. Coach Johnson added, “April (Johnson) played well for us tonight and battled hard on defense against a good player in Temeca Spain while still having enough energy to give us some points on offense.”
A Norman Lay-up capped a 14-4 St. Andrews run to start the second half giving the Knights their largest lead of the night, 52-37, with 15 minutes left. Coker cut the deficit in half in the next three minutes but St. Andrews was able to regain a double digit lead under the 10 minute mark.
SAPC continued to lead 72-61 but the Lady Cobras went back to full court pressure they were using in the first half and it sparked an 11-1 rally. Koponen scored seven points and Aaltonen scored the other four points during the surge that got Coker to within one, 73-72, with just under two minutes left in regulation.
The Cobras had a chance to take the lead on their next trip down the court but Knights freshman Kristin Zipkin (Canton, Ga.) came up with a big steal. Zipkin once again provided the big defensive play on Coker’s next possession with a block. St. Andrews was able to make one free throw on both of their ensuing possessions to take a three-point lead into the final 30 seconds. Coker was unable to connect on a potential tying three-pointer with 19 seconds left and St. Andrews made its final four free throws to take the seven-point victory.
SAPC held a slim 49-37 rebounding edge on the glass. The Knights connected on 5-of-8 (62.5%) three-pointers in the final stanza as Thompson, Jones, and freshman Franchaze Waters (Annapolis, Md.) were a combined 6-of-8 from behind the arc in the game will all three making two treys apiece.
Senior Jessy Perkins (Goldsboro, N.C.) added nine points and six rebounds while Waters and Zipkin finished with six and five points, respectively.
St. Andrews next hosts Conference Carolinas rival Pfeiffer University Saturday at 2:00 p.m. while Coker hosts league foe Lees-McRae College at the same time.