Big second half propels CU, 74-63
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Big second half propels CU, 74-63
Jessica Pace scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half in CU's 74-63 victory Saturday over Martin Methodist. (Credit Richard RoBards)

LEBANON, Tenn. – Courtney Atkinson posted career-highs with 20 points and 12 rebounds and Cumberland used a 20-4 run in the second half to take control in a 74-63 victory over Martin Methodist in women’s basketball action Saturday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.

Simone Ryan recorded 15 points and 11 rebounds and Jessica Pace added 19 points, 15 in the second half, as the Bulldogs (6-11, 3-4 TranSouth) shot 53 percent and committed only three turnovers in the second half to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit.

The Bulldogs started fast, taking an 11-4 advantage four minutes into the contest, and CU held the lead until the four minute mark of the opening period. But Cumberland went ice cold at the end of the half, going 2-for-12 with four turnovers over the final 5:12.

MMC took full advantage, running off a 16-4 spurt highlighted by nine points from Kyra Knight. The RedHawks (12-7, 2-4) actually scored the final 10 points of the period, including Jessy Christopher’s 3-pointer with eight seconds left for a 38-30 MMC edge at intermission.

The visitors held a 45-42 lead after a Rachel Brown layup with 13:13 remaining before the Bulldogs began their 20-4 run, which started with nine consecutive points from Pace. Casie Cowan hit a 3-pointer and added a field goal before Pace ended the stretch with another basket just over seven minutes later and CU ahead, 62-49.

But Martin Methodist would not go away, cutting the deficit to four thanks to nine straight points by Vee Young, who entered the game averaging almost 23 per game but was held to six in the first 34 minutes of the contest. She finished with 15 points on 7-of-17 shooting.

Micah Anderson added three points and Rachel Brown hit both ends of a 1-plus-1, making it 67-63 with 1:27 remaining. Pace answered with a bucket for CU and after Brown missed the front end of the bonus, Atkinson nailed a 3-pointer from the wing just before the shot clock expired for a 72-63 edge.

Knight and Brown both finished with 11 points and Brown grabbed eight rebounds for the RedHawks.

Cumberland hosts Oakwood University on Monday at 6 p.m. before traveling to Fisk University on Thursday and Mid-Continent next Saturday.