GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Kayla Marosites scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter as Carson-Newman University defeated Tusculum University 75-70 in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action Wednesday evening at Pioneer Arena.
Marosites also had a game-high 13 rebounds for the Eagles (13-4, 6-3 SAC), who shot 12-for-26 (46.2 percent) from three-point range against the Pioneers, who led Division II in three-point percentage defense at 21.1 percent entering the game.
Callie Patterson led the Pioneers (11-3, 4-3 SAC) with 16 points and Mia Long added 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals for Tusculum, which saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end in its first home loss of the season. Kendrea Duke also reached double figures with 12 points for the Pioneers, who lost for the first time since December 1 at Catawba.
Haris Price had four three-pointers among her 18 points before exiting the game early in the fourth quarter due to injury. Briana Smith also reached double figures for the Eagles with 16 points to go along with seven rebounds as Carson-Newman outrebounded Tusculum 50-37 in the game, including 25 offensive rebounds.
The game featured seven ties and 16 lead changes, with the final one coming on the first of consecutive three-pointers by Marosites with 8:23 left which gave the Eagles a 56-53 lead. Carson-Newman would lead by as many as nine points following a layup by Marosites with 2:53 to play, but Tusculum was able to pull within three at 71-68 on a three-pointer by Patterson with 26.8 seconds left. However, the Eagles put the game away by making 6-of-8 free throws in the final 40 seconds.
Tusculum shot 42.4 percent (28-for-66) from the field but went just 6-for-24 (25 percent) from three-point range. Despite the Eagles' torrid shooting from beyond the arc, Carson-Newman finished 24-for-70 (34.3 percent) overall from the field and went just 12-for-44 (27.2 percent) on two-point shots. Part of the Eagles' dismal shooting from close range was due to the defense of Lovely Locklear and Jasmine Williams, each of whom finished with a career-high five blocked shots for the Pioneers.
The teams traded the lead four times in the first quarter, with Tusculum scoring seven straight points to take a 10-4 lead on a layup by Long with 3:44 left in the period. However, the Eagles went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter, including a pair of three-pointers by Price, to go ahead 14-12 at the end of the first.
Tusculum regained the lead at 15-14 on a free throw by Long with 7:59 left in the first half, but back-to-back layups by Smith and Marosites put the Eagles back on top 18-15 with 6:58 to play. Carson-Newman would then go on a scoring drought that lasted 4 1/2 minutes, during which time the Eagles missed 12 consecutive shots, as Tusculum ran off eight straight points to go on top 23-18 on a layup by Yolizma Cupidan with 3:03 left in the half.
However, Carson-Newman would regain the lead on back-to-back three-pointers by Kelci Marosites by a score of 24-23 with 2:03 left in the half. The teams would trade the lead two more times before Williams finished with consecutive buckets in the final minute to send the Pioneers to intermission with a 29-27 advantage.
Long led the Pioneers with seven points and four rebounds in the first half and Jalia Arnwine added six points for Tusculum, which shot 11-for-30 (36.7 percent) from the field as a team. Price was the leading scorer in the first half for Carson-Newman with eight points, followed by Kelci Marosites with six and Kayla Marosites with four points and a game-high six rebounds. The Eagles shot 25 percent (10-for-40) from the field but hit 5-for-12 from three-point range in the half.
Tusculum took its largest lead of the game early in the third quarter, as a three-pointer by Arnwine pushed the Pioneer advantage to 42-34 with 7:32 left in the period. But, the Eagles came back with a quick 7-0 run to cut the margin to 42-41 on a Price three-pointer with 6:04 remaining in the period. A three-pointer by Ashton Wykle gave Carson-Newman its first lead of the half at 46-44 with 3:20 to go in the third, and a three by Kayla Marosites in the final minute sent the Eagles to the fourth quarter with a slim 51-50 lead.
The Pioneers regained the lead at 53-51 on a three-pointer by Patterson on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, and the Eagles soon saw Price go to the bench after being hurt in a chase for a loose ball. Kayla Marosites stepped up and hit back-to-back three-pointers as the Eagles went ahead 59-53 with 8:04 remaining. Tusculum was able to pull within two points twice in the final six minutes, but a three-pointer by Smith sparked a 7-0 run that gave Carson-Newman its biggest lead at 68-59 with 2:53 left.
Tusculum, which entered the game ranked third in Division II in turnovers forced (25.77 per game) and steals per game (15.0), had just nine steals off 20 Carson-Newman turnovers in the game. The Eagles forced the Pioneers into 19 turnovers, and scored 26 points off the Tusculum miscues. The Eagles also held a 21-15 edge in fast break points and an 18-12 advantage in second-chance points.
Arnwine finished the game with nine points, three rebounds and four assists in 25 minutes for the Pioneers, while Cupidan played all 40 minutes and had eight points and three rebounds. Williams added six points and four rebounds to go with her five blocked shots in 12 minutes off the Tusculum bench, while Locklear had four points and four boards in 20 minutes along with her five blocks.
Tusculum will return to the road Saturday to visit Wingate for a 2 p.m. tipoff with the Bulldogs.