LEBANON, Tenn. – Life University put together a 23-4 run in the first half thanks to 16 percent shooting from Cumberland in the first two periods, with the Running Eagles holding off a late charge for an 87-77 victory in women’s basketball action here Thursday night at Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena.
The Phoenix (5-12, 1-4 Mid-South) missed 18 consecutive shots from the 6:59 mark of the first period until a Britany Miller field goal with 4:43 remaining in the half. The club connected on four free throws during the stretch.
The Running Eagles (12-6, 2-4) netted 14 of the final 16 points in the first half after two free throws by Katherine Griffith knotted the contest at 11. Naomi House and Zykeria Allen each posted five points during the stretch for Life.
House added two more baskets to end the spurt for the visitors before Miller’s left-handed runner in the lane ended the scoring drought for the Phoenix. Life stretched the lead to as many as 23 points with three minutes to play in the first half but scored just one more point before intermission.
Cumberland could only cut six points off the deficit before the half, all at the foul line, missing six field goal attempts. The Running Eagles led 43-26 at the break.
The lead stayed between 18 and 21 for Life in the third quarter, but Torri Daniels and Carli Codner-Pinto nailed back-to-back 3-pointers for the Phoenix midway through the final period, cutting the deficit to 12.
Shikiya Brown answered with a jumper and Kiana Glenn made a triple for the Running Eagles, pushing the lead back to 17. Cumberland got as close as seven in the final minute thanks to a flurry of activity on both ends, including a 3-point play for Dominique St. Louis and two baskets by Daniels.
Codner-Pinto led Cumberland with 19 points while Miller finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds and Griffith posted 10 points and 13 boards. Daniels collected 14 points off the bench for CU.
Brown netted 21 points for Life to lead all scorers and House recorded 15 points. Eleven different Running Eagles players found the scoring column in the win.
Codner-Pinto drilled a 3-pointer to start the game for the Phoenix and baskets by Griffith and St. Louis gave CU a 7-2 edge. Life pulled ahead, 11-9, on field goals by Sydney Garnigan, Tierra Lindsey and Brown and an old-fashioned 3-point play from Tshlene Bentley.
Two free throws from Griffith evened the contest at 11, but Cumberland netted just two points over the last 4:36 of the period, both at the foul line.
House made a short jumper and a 3-pointer for the Running Eagles before a layup from Tierra Lindsey. Miller’s two free throws were the only points for CU, but Allen netted a bucket and a 3-pointer to end the period, giving Life a 25-13 advantage.
The field goal drought continued for the Phoenix for more than five minutes of the second quarter, as Cumberland missed 18 consecutive shots. Life began the period with nine straight points, including a jumper and a layup by House, for a 34-13 lead.
Miller’s layup at the 4:34 mark of the quarter ended the scoreless stretch for Cumberland and Jemilah Leonard and Daniels added two free throws apiece for CU. Bentley and Garnigan netted field goals for the Running Eagles and two foul shots from Damiya Montgomery stretched the Life advantage to 42-19.
Kerrice Watson dropped four straight free throws for the Phoenix and Miller added two more inside of the final minute of the half. Life missed its final six shots of the period but Cumberland’s horrific shooting did not allow the home team to makeup the difference, cutting only six points off the deficit before the break.
The Running Eagles took a 43-26 advantage to intermission thanks to 5-of-31 shooting from the Phoenix. CU connected on 15-of-20 at the foul line, keeping the club in the game.
Life cooled off from the field in the second period (6-of-20) after an 11-for-21 start. Nine different Running Eagles player scored in the half led by nine points from House.
Cumberland plays at the University of the Cumberlands on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT.