SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WOFFORD AHTLETICS/WSPA) – The Wofford women’s basketball team defeated the Furman Paladins for the fourth consecutive game at home, behind a double-double from Niyah Lutz.
A tightly contested affair went back-and-forth until the Terriers were able to pull away late in the fourth quarter to secure their first SoCon win of the season.
Wofford now sits at 5-3 (1-0) after their victory over the Paladins, while Furman moves to 4-6 (0-1).
Down early in the 1st quarter, Wofford was able to pull back level by the likes of Lilly Hatton, who scored the team’s first eight points. A pair of treys and a turnaround jumper from the sophomore made it an 8-8 game with just under four minutes left in the 1st quarter. The Terriers took their first lead of the game after Alexis Tomlin scored one of two from the line, and made a put-back layup for a three point advantage. Helen Matthews also contributed from a steal-and-score which gave Wofford a 13-12 lead at the end of the quarter.
The 2nd quarter saw the Terriers in the same position as the first, trailing early, but once again they were able to find their way back into the lead. Niyah Lutz, Lilly Hatton, and Jackie Carman combined for seven points to send Wofford up by one. Lutz extended the small lead to three after a layup in transition. The teams jostled for the lead, but Jamari McDavid’s 3-pointer kept the lead at three with a couple minutes remaining. However, Furman took a four-point lead into halftime.
With both teams making adjustments at the break, it was tough to find points at both ends of the court. Hatton opened the scoring in the 3rd quarter with a 10-foot jumper, and then ran the floor for a fast break layup. Lutz made a jumper of her own to make the score 35-35. A 6-0 run by the Paladins saw them out in front until Annabelle Schultz ended that with a triple, cutting the lead in half. Tomlin then rattled off four straight to send the Terriers to the 4th quarter up 42-41.
Once Wofford took the lead, they had no intentions of giving it back. McDavid raced passed her defender for a layup, and Carman hit a clutch three to push the squad back ahead. McDavid and Carman scored again before Lutz hit two free-throws and a distant jumper for a six-point edge at the media timeout. Furman cut the lead to one, but McDavid’s corner jumper gave a little more breathing room to Wofford. Lutz converted a fast break layup after a Carman steal, and from there on out it was down to the free-throw line. The Terriers hit their free-throws and didn’t allow Furman to come back into the game, sealing their first conference win of the season, 61-54.
Niyah Lutz finished with her third career double-double, 14 points to go along with a career-high 12 rebounds. Lilly Hatton matched the team-high with 14 points of her own, and Jamari McDavid had 11. Alexis Tomlin dominated the glass with 10 rebounds, six of which were offensive. Wofford outscored Furman in three of the four quarters, including 31-21 in the 2nd half.
“It’s always a tough game against Furman, but it’s so fun and rewarding when you beat them, especially at home”, said coach Jimmy Garrity. “It was back-and-forth the whole game, but at the end of the day we made a few more plays than them and came out on top. Our defense held them late in the shot clock a lot and shut them down at the end of the game. On the flip side, our offense made shots at crucial moments and everyone who played did something special today. Those are the type of games you need to grind out in this league, and we proved today that we can do that.”
Wofford stays at home with their next two games coming against ETSU: Thursday, January 14 and Saturday, January 16. Thursday’s game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm start, while Saturday is set for 2:00 pm.