LEBANON, Tenn. – In much the same script as the day before, Cumberland trailed by 17 points at halftime but cut the deficit to two twice in the second half, only to have 18th-ranked Univ. of the Cumberlands make just enough plays and free throws to hang on for a 56-53 victory Friday in the Rosa Stokes Classic at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (7-5) lost their second straight game after starting very slowly and falling behind big in the first half, as they did Thursday against Indiana Wesleyan. CU came back to within three points against IWU before fading late in the contest.
Friday followed much the same script, but this time the Bulldogs played tough until the end before falling in the final minute to the visiting Patriots (9-6).
Yalonda Davis’ free throw midway through the second half made it 41-39, but Lauren Wombles was fouled on a 3-pointer and made two foul shots on UC’s next possession. Jessica Upchurch nailed a 3-pointer Stephanie Quattrociocchi had an old-fashioned three-point play to push the Patriots lead back to eight with 4:37 to play.
But Cumberland continued to drive to the basket and finally hit some shots in the second half. Casie Cowan made a 3-pointer from the wing and Davis added a driving layup. Davis’ acrobatic jumper plus the foul made it 52-49 with 1:44 remaining.
Quattrociocchi went 1-for-2 at the line for UC before Cowan made both ends of a 1-and-1, cutting the UC lead back to two with 1:17 to play. After a turnover by UC’s Courtney Edmonds gave the ball to the Bulldogs with the chance to tie or take the lead, Davis missed another driving jumper and Quattrociocchi hit two free throws.
Davis was fouled on the ensuing possession and made both foul shots. CU fouled Wombles, who was 1-of-2 at the line with 12.6 seconds remaining, but the Bulldogs missed a jumper from Jessica Pace and the ball fell out of bounds with eight-tenths of a second left.
Davis scored 14 of her 18 points in the second half while Cowan added 10 points after the break. The Bulldogs shot 41 percent from the field in the second period and were near 50 percent for most of the half after making just 6-of-28 in the opening 20 minutes. For her efforts Davis was named the Music City Star of the Game.
Wombles led the Patriots with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Quattrociocchi and Upchurch both added 11 points.
CU’s Ashley Whitmore led all players with 12 rebounds.
Cumberland started very slowly for the second straight game, making just two of its first 15 shots in the contest, five of those in the lane. UC, on the other hand, began quickly, racing out to a 9-0 advantage in the first four minutes on 3-pointers from Wombles and Stephanie Salyers and a three-point play by Wombles.
Quattrociocchi’s 3-pointer and a free throw from Wombles gave the Patriots a 19-6 advantage with 11:20 left in the period. UC stretched the advantage to 30-13 on Upchurch’s 3-pointer late in the half and led 32-15 at the break.
Cumberland opens TranSouth Conference action on January 6 at home against Lyon College at 6 p.m.