Pioneers thwart Hiwassee 74-30 on Education Day

Mya Belton scored a career-high 23 points in Tusculum's 74-30 win over Hiwassee on Education Day at Pioneer Arena (photo by Chuck Williams)
Mya Belton scored a career-high 23 points in Tusculum's 74-30 win over Hiwassee on Education Day at Pioneer Arena (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Freshman Mya Belton and senior Yolizma Cupidan each had career bests scoring 23 and 21 points, respectively to pace the Tusculum University women's basketball team to a 74-30 victory over Hiwassee College Wednesday afternoon at Pioneer Arena. 

The game was part of Tusculum's Education Day as area secondary schools were invited to attend as 1,124 fans packed the home of the Pioneers.

The 30 points are the fewest points allowed by a TU team since Jan. 28, 1991 when the Pioneers defeated Bluefield College 72-30.

Tusculum (15-6) forced 31 turnovers resulting into 29 points as the Pioneers improved to 9-2 at home on the year and have won three of their last four games overall.  TU also caps an undefeated record in non-conference games this year going a perfect 8-0 worksheet.

Belton's 23 points came thanks to a season-best five three-pointers on 16 attempts which are tied for the fourth-most in program history.  Cupidan's 21-point effort eclipsed her previous career-high of 20 markers against King last year.  She went 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from three-point territory while also hauling in a career-high nine rebounds to go along with her four steals.

TU's Jasmine Williams accounted for nine points and five rebounds, while Jalia Arnwine finished with nine points and three assists as the Pioneers committed only six turnovers in the contest.  Marta Rodrigues tallied four points and four steals while establishing career bests with seven assists and eight rebounds.

Shominique Pearson led the Tigers with her double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds as she was the only Hiwassee player in double figure scoring.

Tusculum finished the game shooting 33.8 percent (26-of-77) including 10-of-39 from three-point territory (25.6%).  The Tigers went 12-of-51 (23.5%) including 1-of-15 (6.7%) from beyond the arc.  Hiwassee held a 51-47 advantage in rebounding while TU led in fast-break points (20-2) and bench scoring (31-6).

The lead bounced back and forth early as TU led 12-10 with 2:39 remaining in the first period.  But the Pioneers closed out the quarter with a 10-0 run including seven points from Cupidan as TU led 24-10 after 10 minutes of play.   TU would outscore the Tigers by a 50-20 margin for the remainder of the game as the Tusculum cruised to the victory.

The Pioneers return to South Atlantic Conference play on Saturday as they travel to Queens University of Charlotte for a 2 p.m. contest. TU defeated the Royals 94-62 on Dec. 16, 2018 in Greeneville.