WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. – Chelsey Hall netted nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter and Jalita Fason netted 13 points, as 18th-ranked Cumberland overcame an awful shooting night to post a 55-49 victory over the University of the Cumberlands here Thursday night at the O. Wayne Rollins Center.
The Phoenix (11-4, 2-2 Mid-South) shot just 32 percent from the field and 12-for-26 at the foul line after entering the contest fourth nationally in free throw percentage at 78 percent. Cumberland hit 7-of-10 field goals in the final period, though, during a 13-4 run that helped CU overcome a three-point deficit en route to the win.
Bre Neal started the spurt with a nice drop-step for a layup and Fason fed Hall for a layup plus the foul for a 45-43 edge with 3:37 remaining, Cumberland’s second lead of the contest. Cheyenne Madden’s basket for the Patriots (7-5, 0-2) tied the game at 45, but Neal’s hit 1-of-2 foul shots before grabbing the rebound for a putback and a 48-45 advantage.
Hall’s drive down the baseline for a layup pushed the lead to five with 1:46 remaining and Cumberland hung on with three free throws in seven attempts down the stretch for the win. Nicole Bowers grabbed 10 rebounds for the Phoenix, six in the second half.
Cheyenne Madden led all players with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Lydia Box added 11 points for UC, who shot 34 percent from the field and made only 3-of-6 foul shots.
Madden scored the first four points of the game for the Patriots before a 3-pointer by Box gave UC a quick 7-1 edge, as CU missed its first five shots of the contest. Jalita Fason’s layup broke the ice for the Phoenix and Julia Fox hit a trifecta to pull the visitors within, 7-6.
Madden added another field goal and Box hit another triple, part of a 9-2 spurt by the Patriots for a 17-10 advantage, but Cumberland scored six of the final eight points in the opening period, including a bucket and two foul shots by Fason for a 19-16 UC lead at the end of 10 minutes.
Both teams went ice cold in the second quarter, combining to make only 7-of-25 shots. Two field goals by Chelsey Hall and one from Jazmine Smith knotted the game at 22 with 4:48 remaining before the half, but Cumberland missed its final four shots of the period and committed two turnovers as well.
The Patriots took advantage, ending the period on an 8-0 run behind two free throws by Malone and a 17-footer from Essence Gray. Brandi Williams made a layup and Madden’s putback just before the final buzzer gave UC a 30-22 advantage at the break.
Madden led all players with 12 points and seven rebounds and Box hit three 3-pointers for nine points for the Patriots. Fason and Hall paced the Phoenix with six points apiece and Neal collected five.
Madden’s field goal to start the third period gave the Patriots a 10-point lead, their largest of the game, but Cumberland ran off nine straight points, including three consecutive field goals by Fason. Bowers connected on one free throw and then made a layup to cut the deficit to one, but LaTeesha DeLoach drove down the lane for a lefthanded layup to stretch the lead back to three for UC.
One foul shot from Bowers and a layup by Jazmine Smith tied the game at 34 and the teams were tied at 36 headed to the final period.
Cumberland headed to 20th-ranked University of Pikeville for a 1 p.m. Central Time tip-off on Saturday, the second of five straight road games to begin the New Year for the Phoenix.