LEBANON, Tenn. – After falling behind by 16 points in the first half, Cumberland battled back to take the lead by fell just short in a 69-63 defeat against top-ranked Union University Thursday night in women’s basketball action at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
Cumberland (7-8, 1-5 TranSouth) fell behind 30-14 in the first half but closed the gap with an 11-2 run late in the period and trailed just 37-31 at the break. The Bulldogs reeled off 10 straight points in the first four minutes of the second half to take their first lead at 43-41, capped by a 3-pointer from Brittany Cash.
The game was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way, with CU pushing its edge to 52-48 with 9:28 remaining after a driving layup from Cash. But Union answered with a 14-3 spurt over the next three minutes to take control of the game, with Kaitlin Dudley netting five points and Zeiban Chan registering four.
The Bulldogs cut the deficit to three twice and got it to 65-63 with 20 seconds left after an Allysia Bailey jumper, but Kayla Hudson and Dudley combined for four free throws to ice the victory for Union.
Cumberland had contributions for several players, Keshia Brown leading four double figure scorers with 15 points. Cash added 13 points, nine in the second half, while Tamara Gonzalez scored 12 points and Bailey netted 11. Freshman Joy Ford also registered six points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes of action, her best game of the year.
Dudley scored 16 points with 11 rebounds, while Chan posted 16 points and a dozen boards. Union had 19 offensive rebounds and 22 second-chance points, a major difference in the contest. The visitors were just 5-for-24 from 3-point range, including 1-of-10 in the second half.
Union jumped out early in the game, putting together a 16-7 run over eight minutes after the game was tied at seven. Ashley Lillard contributed six points during the run and Union hit a trio of 3-pointers to take a 30-14 advantage with 8:04 left in the first half.
But Cumberland responded with an 11-2 stretch over a little more than five minutes, with Brown netting seven points for the Bulldogs. CU stayed even with the visitors for the rest of the period and trailed just 37-31 at intermission.
Cumberland hosts Martin Methodist Saturday at 2 p.m. and King College Monday at 7 p.m., both at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.