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Pioneers force 32 turnovers in 71-55 win at Queens

Pioneers force 32 turnovers in 71-55 win at Queens

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Tusculum University overcame long-range shooting woes by forcing Queens University into 32 turnovers as the Pioneers beat the Royals 71-55 in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action Saturday afternoon at Curry Arena.

Kasey Johnson scored a season-high 22 points and Maddie Sutton added 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Pioneers (9-2, 4-1 SAC), who scored 29 points off the Royals' 32 miscues. Sydney Wilson added 13 points for the Pioneers, who missed 24 consecutive three-point shots from the midway point of the first quarter to the final three minutes of the fourth. Tusculum finished a dismal 2-for-28 from three-point range in the game, but attempted 37 more field goals that Queens thanks to 22 offensive rebounds which the Pioneers turned into 22 points.

Johnson, who had matched her season high of 20 points in Wednesday's 89-85 win over UVa-Wise, was 10-for-19 from the field and 2-for-2 from the foul line for her third 20-point game of the season and the 11th of her career. She added seven rebounds and equaled her career high with four steals. As a team, Tusculum finished with 21 steals with seven different players finishing with two or more thefts. Mia Long had six steals for the Pioneers to equal her season high.

The Royals (3-8, 2-3 SAC), who played without leading scorer Kristian Eanes (16.6 ppg), received a career-high 17 points from Kelsey Leedle who was 5-for-6 from three-point range in the game. Queens, which entered the game near the bottom in Division II in both three-pointers per game (3.1) and three-point percentage (.215), drilled a season-high eight threes in 19 attempts (42.1 percent) but went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. Taylor Stevens added 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Royals, who shot 42.2 percent (19-for-45) overall but sank just 9-for-19 from the foul line as a team.

Sutton recorded her second career double-double and matched her career high of 13 rebounds set twice previously. Seven of Sutton's 13 rebounds came on the offensive glass, and she shot 7-for-13 from the field to hit double figures in scoring for the seventh time this season. Wilson was just 2-for-10 from three-point range, but her 13-point performance brought her career total to 982 points, 18 shy of becoming the 18th player in program history to score 1,000 points.

Queens held a pair of brief three-point leads in the first quarter at 7-4 and 9-6, only to see Tusculum reel off 11 consecutive points while the Royals turned the ball over five times in a span of 2 1/2 minutes. Johnson had six points during the Pioneers' run, the final two on a layup that gave Tusculum a 17-9 lead with 3:22 left in the quarter. Johnson would finish with eight points in the opening quarter as Tusculum took a 19-11 lead into the second period.

Two buckets by Sutton and a layup by Johnson gave Tusculum a 25-14 lead with 7:34 left in the first half, but Queens clawed back to within 25-19 on a three-pointer by Tia McMillian with 5:38 remaining in the half. The Pioneers would come back with seven straight points to go up 32-19 on a Johnson layup with 4:13 left in the half, and two foul shots by Mya Belton with 1:20 left helped the Pioneers to a 38-25 lead at intermission.

The Pioneers shot 17-for-37 (45.9 percent) from the field in the first half, but just 1-for-9 from three-point range as a team. Johnson led the Pioneers with 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, while Sutton had eight points and four rebounds in the half. Queens, which turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, shot 39.1 percent (9-for-23) as a team but went 5-for-11 from three-point range in the half. Leedle and McMillian shared the team high in scoring for the Royals with six points in the first half, while Stevens had a team-high five rebounds.

Trailing by 13 at the start of the third quarter, Queens cut the deficit to four by scoring the first nine points of the half. Leedle had a pair of three-pointers in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the quarter, the latter cutting the Tusculum lead to 38-34. The Pioneers came back with a 10-2 run that included buckets from Long, Sutton, Johnson and Belton and three turnovers by the Royals. Belton hit two free throws just before the end of the quarter as the Pioneers went to the fourth leading 56-46.

Long opened the fourth quarter by scoring four straight points as the Pioneers went ahead 60-46. Tusculum would score just two points over the next five minutes, but back-to-back layups from Johnson helped the Pioneers extend their lead to 66-53 with 4:07 left. Wilson finally snapped Tusculum's three-point drought as she connected with 2:26 left for a 69-55 Tusculum lead, as Queens went without a field goal for the final five minutes and scoreless for the last 2:58.

Tusculum finished the game at 35.4 percent (29-for-82) from the field but hit 11-for-13 from the foul line as a team. The Pioneers converted 18 fastbreak points and outscored the Royals in the paint by a 52-22 margin.

The Pioneers will play their final game of 2019 on Tuesday, Dec. 31 as Alice Lloyd will visit Pioneer Arena for an exhibition starting at 1 p.m. Tusculum's next regular-season game will be Saturday, Jan. 4 against Anderson at Pioneer Arena, starting at 2 p.m.






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