LEBANON, Tenn. – Martin Methodist used an 18-2 spurt late in the game to take the lead and sealed the victory at the foul line, defeating Cumberland, 64-58, in the quarterfinals of the TranSouth Women’s Championships Tuesday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The season ends for Cumberland (15-14), which posted victories in 12 of its final 17 contests after starting the season 3-9. The Bulldogs finished third overall in the TranSouth Conference and lose just one senior from this year’s club under third-year head coach Jeremy Lewis.
The Bulldogs started slowly again, falling behind 12-4 in the first five minutes, much like they did 10 days ago in Pulaski against the RedHawks (19-12) when CU failed to score for the first 11 minutes of the game. Cumberland was just 1-of-7 in the early going and Keri O’Neal scored four points and Jessy Christopher added five for MMC.
Neither team scored for the next five minutes until a Tamara Gonzalez jumper from the free throw line broke the drought, starting a 12-5 run for Cumberland. Casie Cowan scored five straight points during the run and Katie Smith’s free throw pulled the Bulldogs within 17-16 with 5:27 remaining in the period. CU finally pulled even at 22 after a Jessica Pace steal and layup with 2:14 left and Cowan’s two free throws at the 1:03 mark tied the game at 26 at the break.
The Bulldogs netted the first basket of the second half just 28 seconds into the period, then failed to score for the next four minutes. Nonetheless CU took the lead on another Pace layup with 13:06 to play, part of 10-2 spurt by six points from Courtney Atkinson, who finished with a team-best 16 points, including 14 in the second half.
Cumberland pushed the lead to 48-39 with 7:03 to play after a jumper by Atkinson, forcing a timeout by the RedHawks. The visitors responded after the timeout, starting the 18-2 run a layup by Rachel Brown.
Christopher hit consecutive 3-pointers and then was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws. Pace’s layup with 2:49 to play tied the game at 50, but it was CU’s only points during the MMC spurt that lasted more than six minutes.
The RedHawks made 9-of-10 foul shots in the final minute and 26-of-31 in the second half, netting just five field goals in the period. Cumberland was whistled for 16 fouls in the second half compared to just six for MMC.
Christopher scored a game-high 23 points and Vee Young added 19. The duo combined to make 18-of-21 free throw attempts. Young added 10 rebounds as well.
Pace led the Bulldogs with 15 points and 10 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the season and 12th of her two-year CU career, while Cowan struggled from the field, going 0-for-7 from 3-point range but ended with 11 points.