Troy’s defense shines in 79-61 win over East Tennessee State

Published 5:45 pm Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Troy Trojans returned from a week off and defeated East Tennessee State 79-61 on Wednesday afternoon.

The Trojans last played on December 4 against Auburn-Montgomery. The win for the Trojans gives them three in a row and they now sit 6-2 on the season.

Head coach Chanda Rigby was away from the team on Wednesday to be with her son, who underwent an ‘“intensive medical procedure.” Assistant coach Jennifer Graf filled in for coach Rigby.

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“I thought we started the game really well,” Graf said. “This week was a little rough. We just got finished with finals so a lot of them didn’t get a lot of sleep. We started extremely well and did a lot of things right. We were a little disappointed with our response coming out of halftime.”

Fresh of that week layoff, the Trojans jumped out to a big lead early when they scored the game’s first 10 points and took a 10-0 lead into the game’s first timeout. East Tennessee State cracked the scoreboard for the first time with 7:15 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Trojans held ETSU to just seven points, three of which came at the free throw line.

The Trojan defense held East Tennessee State to just 5-32 shooting (16 percent in the first half, they were just 2-16 (13 percent) in the first quarter.

“It’s not something you have seen in the past from a Troy team, being able to sprint down the floor and guard somebody in a half court set,” Graf said. “It’s something we have focused on in the last month, we can sit down and guard people.”

The Trojans led by as many as 22 points in the first half. Following their 10-0 run to start the game, the Trojans had a 9-0 run late in the second quarter, to push their lead to 17 points.

The Trojans scored the first six points of the third quarter to stretch their lead to 28 points at 46-18.

East Tennessee State went on a 7-0 run to get back to within 20 at 50-30. The Trojans took a 57-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

ETSU got back to within 14 points with 2:59 remaining, but the Trojans pushed the lead back up to 19 and held on to win by 18.

The Trojans had five players finish in double figures. Jasmine Robinson and Harriet Winchester each scored 13 points, while Japonica James had 12 and Alexus Dye had 11.

With Winchester tying for the team lead with 13 points, the Trojans now have had eight different leading scorers in their first eight games this season.

“That’s pretty great and tough,” Graf said. “I would think it would be extremely difficult to scout Troy because you say ‘I don’t know whose going to score,’ but we just put all 13 players on our scouting report because they all play and they all contribute. It’s something we need to keep up.”

Winchester finished with 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

“Its kind of what Harriet does,” Graf said. “She has had the assignment all season long of guarding the other team’s best guard. Harriet does her job and she knows she has to be a defensive presence for us. We have to build off it. She is a heck of a player and she has more in the tank.”

The Trojans travel to take on Chattanooga on Sunday to take on Mocs beginning at 12:30 p.m.

They will then head to Las Vegas to take part in the Holiday Hoops Classic beginning on December 19 where they will play Toledo and Kent State.