Saturday proved to be just another day at the office for the Transylvania women's basketball team, which continued its winning ways.
Nicole Coffman scored 18 points and dished out three assists as the Lady Pioneers tripped up Manchester 57-50 in the Beck Center.
Transy, 12-1 overall, improved to 6-0 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. A record like that tends to put a target on a team's back.
"It's right where we want to be, and we just have to keep our minds focused," Coffman said. "Hopefully we're playing for the next two months and get to that point in the NCAA Tournament and make it all the way."
Jordin Fender backed up Coffman with 13 points and four assists. Alex McKenzie scored 11.
Kayla Dobson led Transy in rebounds with seven, one more than McKenzie.
Transy, which led by 17 early in the second half, sealed the victory at the free throw line, going 19-for-26 to Manchester's 6-for-13.
"That has been one of our best features," Transy Coach Juli Fulks said. "We have been shooting the free throws very well lately. We have a lot of confidence in that. We spend a lot of time on that and feel good about it. Because at the end of the day, every close game, you've got to hit big free throws."
Manchester (6-7, 3-3) was led by Alyssa Hammond with nine points and seven rebounds.
Transy led 37-22 at halftime, getting 11 points from Coffman and nine from McKenzie.
The Pioneers had a 16-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
Things got tense in the second half, though, with the Spartans cutting the deficit to six points with just under four minutes left.
"I think early in the second half, when they stopped calling fouls on a few of those possessions, we struggled to adjust," Fulks said. "So they were packing it in there, closed off driving lanes. And when we did get inside, early on, I think we just had a hard time converting. So we struggled a little bit and, unfortunately, it steamrolled on us."
The margin was still six points, 50-44, after Manchester's Justine Kruger scored from the block with 1:32 left.
Transy iced the game, though, by scoring its last seven points at the free throw line.
"There at the end, we didn't take care of the ball," Armstrong said. "I think (Fulks) said of eight possessions we had about six turnovers. So then we started taking care of the ball a little more and I think that really helped out."
As for having a target on their back, "We do. But there's no other place we want to be," Fulks said. "So anytime you can be at the top of the league, everybody's gunning for you. And you know every night you've got to show up and put forth a good effort, because everybody else is going to bring their 'A' game."