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CU HOOPS -- Women hold off Middle GA

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CU's Terra Pryor / Steve Wampler photo

Bulldogs improve to 7-2 overall --
LEBANON -- Terra Pryor posted 16 points and Bre Neal grabbed 17 rebounds as Cumberland built a 14-point second half lead and held on for a 72-70 victory over Middle Georgia State Monday at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.

The Bulldogs (7-2) withstood eight 3-pointers from Middle Georgia's Shaketa Hodges, including six in the second half. The Knights (4-4) outscored CU, 22-10, over the final 6:11, with Hodges contributing four 3-pointers during that stretch, but she was forced to give up the ball in the final seconds and TyAsia Grayer's 3-pointer hit the rim and was rebounded by Neal just before the final buzzer.

Cumberland held a two-point edge at the break, but a Hodges 3-pointer just over three minutes into the second half gave MGSC its only lead of the game. Pryor answered with her own triple on the other end, starting a 15-2 spurt for the Bulldogs over the next four minutes.

Pryor and Chelsey Hall had layups before a putback plus the foul by Shantanique Tolbert. Pryor hit another 3-pointer and Bre Neal hit an 18-footer to end the stretch, giving CU a 52-40 advantage with 12:35 to play.

Hall's layup with 8:07 remaining pushed the lead to 14 and neither team scored for the next two minutes, but a layup by Jaylyn Jones and the first of four Hodges trifectas in the final six minutes started the final run for the Knights.

Cumberland was just 2-for-7 with three turnovers over the final six minutes, allowing Middle Georgia to cut into the deficit and they did in a hurry thanks to Hodges. Her 3-pointer with 4:35 remaining made it a six-point game, but Brittany Lawson answered for the Bulldogs with a short jumper.

Two free throws from CU's Jazmine Smith pushed the lead back to 10, but Tascianna Taylor connected on two foul shots and Tia Troup made a layup after Pryor's rimmed out for the Bulldogs, cutting the Bulldog lead back to six.

Hall was good on two free throws for Cumberland before Hodges made another triple. Lawson's 15-footer gave the Bulldogs a 72-65 edge with 1:52 to play, but Hodges drilled another 3-pointer and was fouled on the play, making the free throw to cut the lead to three with 1:18 remaining.

Lawson missed a short baseline shot and then fouled on the rebound, with Grayer hitting 1-of-2 foul shots. The Bulldogs ran down the shot clock but Hall was whistled for traveling with 18 seconds left. Troup tried to find Hodges for another 3-pointer in the waning seconds, but good defense from Smith and Hall forced her to pass to Grayer for the final attempt that came up short.

Hall finished with 12 points and eight assists, Lawson registered 12 points and eight rebounds and Neal had nine points, just one shy of a double-double. Cumberland committed 12 turnovers in the second half and 19 in the contest, which the Knights turned into 18 points.

Hodges posted 27 points and Jaylyn Jones recorded 14 points and nine boards for the visitors. Troup posted six points, six rebounds and seven assists as well.

The Bulldogs jumped ahead 9-2 to start the game, with field goals from four different players, including a 3-pointer by Pryor to open the scoring. MGSC cut into the lead with an old-fashioned 3-point play from Jones and then another layup by Jones, making it 11-9 CU five minutes into the contest.

Pryor's layup and foul shot pushed the advantage back to five and Tolbert's putback plus the foul gave Cumberland a 21-15 advantage. Pryor's runner in the lane provided the largest lead of the half for CU and ended a three-plus minute drought for both teams.

The Knights were stuck on 15 for over four minutes, with five missed shots, two turnovers and two missed free throws before Jamarra Taylor's layup ended the drought for the visitors. Consecutive 3-pointers from Hodges were part of a 12-2 spurt for Middle Georgia, with two foul shots from Troup knotting the score at 27.

Neal had a putback and passed to Lawson for another bucket in the final three minutes for Cumberland, but a steal and layup from MGSC's Taylor in the final seconds of the period made it 35-33 for the Bulldogs at the break.

Lawson and Pryor each scored eight points for CU while Hodges netted eight for the Knights. The Bulldogs missed their final seven 3-point attempts after Pryor's to start the game.

Cumberland jumps back into Mid-South Conference action Thursday, Dec. 4 with a 6 p.m. contest against St. Catharine College at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.

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