TROY, Ala. – Troy senior Joanna Harden scored her 1,000th career point and the Troy women cruised to a 78-53 win over South Alabama on Thursday night at Trojan Arena. The win was the Trojans fourth in their last five games.
Troy (8-13, 4-6) got 30 points from Harden who led all scorers. The Pompano Beach, Fla., native is the 20th member of the Troy 1,000-point club, and just the third to do so in two seasons. Harden has now scored 30-plus in five games this season and 20-plus in seven straight games.
"Congrats to Jo for being the third player in program history to score 1,000 points in two years," Troy head coach Chanda Rigby said. "I went to her before the game to talk about it, but she didn't want to hear it. She just told me she wanted to win."
"I'm speechless, but really the points don't matter, I just want to win," Harden added.
Brooke Bowie joined Harden in double-figures as she finished with 17 points, just one shy of a career high. Bowie and Harden each made four 3-pointers, accounting for all eight made by the Trojans.
South Alabama (7-13, 5-5) entered the game as the Sun Belt's leading 3-point shooting team, making 6.9 treys per game. The Jaguars hit that mark (7-of-23), but the Trojans were one better (8-of-24).
The key for Troy was their defensive pressure as South Alabama committed 27 turnovers and Troy scored 17 points off of them. The Trojans held the Jaguars to just 26 percent (8-of-31) shooting in the second half, including a six-minute stretch without a field goal late in the game. South Alabama's 53 points were the fewest allowed by the Trojans this season.
The Trojans trailed by nine points very early in the game, but the Troy bench provided a spark after Chanda Rigby called a timeout just under two minutes in. Soon after that break, the pace of the game picked up and Troy eventually took a lead it would never relinquish.
"We had a spark off the bench tonight with Aissata (Maiga) and Chant (Lewis)," Rigby said. "Those guards came in, gave us a spark and I can't speak enough about them."
Ronita Garrett also contributed off the Troy bench with a game-high 11 rebounds and nine points.
Troy held South Alabama to four points over the final nine minutes of the first half and led 39-29 at the break. The Trojans extended the lead to as many as 25 in the second half, which is what the final margin was.
In the 34-game series between South Alabama and Troy, the 25-point win by the Trojans is the third most lopsided outcome in favor of either team. Troy has now won two straight over South Alabama after knocking the Jaguars out of the Sun Belt Championships last season. The two will play in Mobile on February 22.
South Alabama was led on Thursday night by Breanna Hall's 12 points while Meghan Dunn was also in double figures with 11 points.
The Trojans are off on Saturday and return to the floor on Wednesday when they travel to take on WKU.