NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Yalonda Davis scored a game-high 17 points and Jessica Pace added 13 points and 15 rebounds, as Cumberland led from the opening tip and hung on to defeat Tennessee State, 66-62, Thursday night in women’s basketball action at Gentry Center. The Bulldogs also got 16 points from Casie Cowan in the victory.
Cumberland’s final eight points of the contest came at the foul line, but CU was just 8-of-13 at the charity stripe in the final two minutes. Cumberland opened the game with an 11-2 advantage and used an 11-2 run to open a 31-22 lead at halftime. The Lady Tigers (1-2) came out pressing in the second half and eventually cut the CU lead to 53-52 with just less than four minutes to play, but Davis made a bucket on a backdoor cut the then nailed a 3-pointer on the next trip, forcing a TSU timeout.
The Bulldogs maintained the lead for the rest of the game, hitting necessary foul shots, but the Lady Tigers made two mistakes in the final seconds.
After Pace hit a free throw with 14.5 seconds remaining, two Lady Tigers got confused on who was taking the ball out, causing a violation when one stepped back out of bounds after the ball had been already put into play. CU threw the ball away on the ensuing in-bounds, holding a three-point lead, but TSU did not shoot a 3-pointer, instead taking it to the basket and missing two shots before fouling again.
Pace’s final free throw with 4.5 seconds remaining finally put the game out of reach, giving the Bulldogs the four-point victory.
Cumberland won despite committing 30 turnovers in the contest, but the Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the field and got big buckets when needed, including the two from Davis and one earlier in the second half from Pace, a driving lay-up plus the foul.
Tayla Foster and Jasmin Shuler led the Lady Tigers with 15 points apiece. The Lady Tigers shot just 30 percent from the field.
Cumberland jumped out early, 11-2, in the first five minutes, with Cowan hitting a 3-pointer and another jumper and Pace converting an old-fashioned 3-point play. A pair of 3-pointers from Shuler cut into the CU lead, though the Bulldogs were never behind in the period.
Meredith Stafford’s trifecta and a free throw from Foster cut the Cumberland advantage to 20-19 with 7:39 left in the half, but the Bulldogs used an 11-2 spurt to end the period. Five different players scored during the stretch, with Cowan’s driving layup with 48 seconds remaining putting the Bulldogs ahead 31-22 at intermission.
Cumberland takes on fourth-ranked Campbellsville University on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.