Tusculum recovers after losing big lead, defeats Newberry 71-63

Tusculum recovers after losing big lead, defeats Newberry 71-63

NEWBERRY, S.C. --- Tusculum University regrouped after letting a 20-point third-quarter lead slip away and defeated Newberry College 71-63 in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action at Eleazer Arena Saturday afternoon.

Jasmine Williams scored a career-high 18 points for the Pioneers (14-6, 7-6 SAC), who won at Newberry for the first time since Jan. 23, 2008 to snap a 10-game road losing streak in the series. Williams shot 7-for-13 from the field overall and 4-for-9 from three-point range to lead four players in double figures for Tusculum, which earned its first sweep of the season series from Newberry since 2007-08 and just its second in the last 15 years.

Courtney Lyons led Newberry (13-7, 7-6 SAC) with 13 points off the bench, and Meg Essex added 12 points and eight rebounds as the Wolves stormed back after trailing 36-19 at halftime to take a 60-59 lead with 4:45 left. However, Williams hit a three-pointer with 3:47 left to put the Pioneers up for good, and Tusculum secured the win with four foul shots in the final 30 seconds after missing 10 of their first 11 attempts.

Yolizma Cupidan had 13 points for the Pioneers, Mia Long added 11 points and six assists and Jalia Arnwine had 11 points and a career-high eight rebounds for the Pioneers, who shot 42.6 percent (26-for-61) from the field while holding the Wolves to 5-for-24 (20.8 percent) from three-point range and 36.1 percent overall.

Tusculum trailed 5-0 on a layup by Essex and a three-pointer by Kelsey McDermott in the opening 90 seconds, but the Pioneers ran off 12 straight points over the next 5 1/2 minutes while holding the Wolves 0-for-4 from the field with four turnovers. The run extended to 20-2 to the end the quarter, giving the Pioneers a 20-7 lead. Cupidan led all players with seven points and Newberry shot 3-for-12 from the field.

Tusculum stretched its lead to 22-7 on a layup by Cupidan with 8:28 to go in the first half, and Newberry would pull no closer than 11 points on two occasions as the Pioneers carried a 36-19 lead into halftime.

Cupidan led all players with nine points in the first half and Kendrea Duke added seven points and five rebounds for the Pioneers. Tusculum shot 44.4 percent (16-for-36) from the field but hit just one foul shot in nine attempts as a team. Essex paced the Wolves with six points and four rebounds in the first half, but Newberry had 16 turnovers and shot 25 percent (6-for-24) as a team.

A three-pointer by Williams on the Pioneers' first possession of the second half gave Tusculum its largest lead at 39-19. The margin was still 19 points at 49-30 following two free throws by Cupidan with 3:47 left in the quarter. However, Tusculum would go without a field goal for the final 3 1/2 minutes of the quarter as Newberry went on a 13-2 run to pull within 51-43 at the end of three quarter.

Tusculum's lead would shrink to four points at 51-47 on a basket by Regan McCarty with 9:18 left, but three-pointers from Williams and Marta Rodrigues would restore Tusculum's 10-point lead at 57-47 with 8:08 to go. Newberry trailed 59-49 following an Arnwine bucket with 6:59 left, but ran off 11 straight points to go ahead 60-59 on a three by Julie Kinard with 4:45 left.

The Pioneers would regain the lead at 62-60 on a Williams three-pointer with 3:47 left, and Duke added a layup with 2:26 left to push the Pioneers on top by four. Two free throws by McDermott with 2:18 left cut the deficit to 64-62, but a Long basket after a Newberry missed three-pointer triggered a 7-1 Tusculum run to end the game. Arnwine went 4-for-4 at the foul line in the final 21 seconds while the Wolves missed four straight three-point attempts in the last two minutes.

Arnwine's eight rebounds were a team high for Tusculum and surpassed her previous career high of six set against Newberry on Jan. 21. Duke finished with nine points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 2:18 left, and Mya Belton contributed four points and a season-high six rebounds in 16 minutes off the Pioneer bench.

Shelby Britten finished with 10 points, four rebounds and five assists for Newberry, but shot just 4-for-16 from the field. McDermott added eight points and Ke'Shawn White and Brandi Hall had six points each for the Wolves.

Both teams finished the game with 25 turnovers, with Tusculum scoring 32 points off Newberry turnovers while allowing the Wolves just 18 points off their own miscues. Tusculum had a 43-38 advantage in rebounding, including 16 offensive rebounds, and had a 26-8 edge in second-chance points over Newberry.

Tusculum is now tied for fifth place in the SAC standings with Newberry and has the tiebreaker over the Wolves by virtue of their sweep in the series. The Pioneers will host Hiwassee on Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Pioneer Arena for a non-conference Education Day game.