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Pioneers hit triple figures in 109-53 win over Johnson & Wales

Pioneers hit triple figures in 109-53 win over Johnson & Wales

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tusculum University led from start to finish in a 109-53 victory over Johnson & Wales University of Charlotte in women's basketball action Friday night at Pioneer Arena.

The Pioneers (5-1) posted their highest single-game point total in nearly 10 years by forcing the Wildcats (4-3) into 45 turnovers, grabbing 31 offensive rebounds and connecting for 11 three-pointers. All 12 players who dressed and played for the Pioneers had at least one field goal, with four players reaching double figures.

Aliyah Miller led Tusculum with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting off the bench, while Mya Belton had 14 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. Marta Rodrigues chipped in with 10 points and a game-high five assists, and Maddie Sutton contributed 11 points in 13 minutes as the Tusculum starters saw limited action in the win.

Jada Morgan led Johnson & Wales with 12 points and five rebounds, with Justice Wallace adding 10 points and a team-best eight boards. As a team, the Wildcats shot 31.9 percent (15-for-47) from the field but hit seven of their 14 three-point attempts.

Tusculum built a 34-15 lead after one quarter and extended the margin to 57-21 at halftime. The Pioneers, who led 76-33 at the end of three quarters, reached the 100-point milestone on a layup by Belton with 2:40 to play. Tusculum scored 49 points off the 45 Johnson & Wales turnovers, and converted their 31 offensive rebounds into 27 points. The Pioneers also outscored the Wildcats on fast breaks by a 28-3 margin, and the Tusculum bench outscored the JWU reserves 71-14.

The Pioneers finished 40-for-90 (44.4 percent) from the field as a team, tying for the sixth-most field goals made in a single game in school history and tied for seventh in field goal attempts. Tusculum hoisted 41 three-pointers in the game, shooting 9-for-24 in the first half but just 2-for-17 after intermission. The Pioneers were 18-for-33 (54.5 percent) at the foul line while the Wildcats shot 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) at the stripe.

Tusculum spread the offense in the win, as Mia Long and Jalia Arnwine scored eight points each before resting most of the second half. Elle Hutchinson, Jasmine Williams and Brianna Dixon had seven points each, with Sydney Wilson and Taylor Stibbe contributing six apiece and Kasey Johnson finishing with five points and six rebounds in 11 minutes.

Long had six steals and Miller finished with five as the Pioneers collected 25 steals from the Wildcats. Eleven of the 12 Pioneers who played had at least one steal, with six finishing with two steals or more. On the boards, Belton's 12 rebounds doubled her previous career high of six set last season against Newberry, and included five on the offensive glass. Miller had six rebounds for the Pioneers, all coming on the offensive end, and Stibbe pulled seven rebounds to go along with her six points in 18 minutes off the bench.

Johnson opened the scoring with a three-pointer on the game's first possession, and the Pioneers went up 11-2 after two minutes as Arnwine and Wilson added threes. Tusculum went 7-for-13 from three-point range in the first quarter, and led 34-15 as Johnson & Wales had 12 turnovers in the period. In the second quarter, the Pioneers used runs of 10-0 and 11-0 to outscore the Wildcats 23-6 in the period. JWU shot 2-for-16 as a team, with three-pointers by Shannon Martin and Jamyah Montissol accounting for the Wildcats' scoring in the frame.

Sutton led the Pioneers in scoring in the first half with nine points on 4-for-6 shooting, while Belton had eight points and five rebounds and Dixon and Miller added seven points each. Tusculum shot 47.8 percent (22-for-46) as a team, including 9-for-24 from three-point range, while Johnson & Wales turned the ball over 21 times and shot 26.1 percent (6-for-23) from the floor. Wallace and Ineesha Hankerson shared the team lead with six points each for the Wildcats in the opening quarter.

The Tusculum lead increased to 48 points at 73-25 on two free throws by Miller with 4:06 left in the third quarter, and the margin moved to 50 points at 87-37 on a layup by Stibbe with 7:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. The 109 points for the Pioneers were the most in a single game for the Pioneers since a 117-38 win over Virginia Intermont on Dec. 30, 2009. Tusculum last hit triple figures in a 100-39 win over Mars Hill on Feb. 7, 2018.

Stibbe's six points and seven rebounds were both season highs for the Pioneers, while Williams added season bests of five rebounds and three blocked shots to go along with her seven points. For Johnson & Wales, Martin had nine points and Montissol finished with eight points and three rebounds, while Micah Thomas came off the bench with six points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.

The Pioneers will open their South Atlantic Conference schedule on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at Pioneer Arena against Lenoir-Rhyne, starting at 5:30 p.m.

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