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Lady Bulldogs advance on buzzer-beater

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Jalita Fason

Fason nails last-ditch three --
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Jalita Fason hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining and paced Cumberland with 18 points in a 59-56 victory over 22nd-ranked University of Pikeville on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Mid-South Conference Women's Basketball Championships in Frankfort, Ky.

With the win the Bulldogs (16-11) advance to the semifinals on Saturday to face third-ranked Campbellsville University at 1 p.m. Central Time.

The contest featured 10 ties and 11 changes, with the Bears (23-8) erasing a 10-point second-half deficit and taking a one-point edge on a Khalilah Quigley 3-pointer with 7:21 remaining.

Brittany Lawson's bucket tied the game tied the game at 52 and the teams traded baskets over the final four minutes.

Fason scored the last seven points of the game for CU, with the last two field goals giving Cumberland the lead, but Aundrea Matchen and Kandice Porter tied the score with baskets for the Bears.

Chelsey Hall, who finished with a season-low five points, missed a 3-pointer with just over 90 seconds remaining for the Bulldogs, but Jamie Castle was no good on a trifecta for Pikeville on the other end, giving CU the ball with a minute to play. Hall was fouled on the baseline with 34 seconds left and Cumberland ran one final play, with Hall feeding Fason for the 3-pointer, just her third three-ball of the season in 12 attempts.

Quigley's final heave from near half-court came after the buzzer, sending Cumberland into the semifinals of the conference tourney.

Quigley posted 20 points and 12 rebounds and Porter added 15 points and 11 boards, as the Bears pounded the offensive glass for the third time this season against CU. Lawson was in foul trouble most of the game, allowing Pikeville to grab 21 offensive boards and turn those into 14 second-chance points.

Terra Pryor put together one of her best games of the season for Cumberland, registering 13 points and seven rebounds.

It marked her first double figure scoring game since January 24 and only her second double-digit effort this season against a Mid-South Conference opponent.

Pryor scored eight points in a 10-2 spurt early in the second half to give the Bulldogs a 46-36 advantage with 14:25 remaining. There were seven ties and nine lead changes in the first half, with neither team leading by more than four points.

Quigley's field goal, a 3-point play by Porter and then a 3-pointer from Kelah Eldridge gave the Bears a 10-6 edge in the early going, but Pryor's backdoor layup and two foul shots from Fason, part of her 10 first-half points, knotted the contest at 10.

Fason's short jumper put the Bulldogs ahead, 18-16, with 9:43 left in the opening half, but Pikeville posted an 8-2 run over the next two-plus minutes for its largest lead of the period.

Quigley hit a 3-pointer to start the stretch and after Fason answered with a field goal, Matchen nailed a trifecta and then made two free throws for the Bears.

Baskets from Fason and Lawson tied the score at 24, though, and a putback by Tamera Giles gave the Bulldogs a 26-24 lead. Another field goal from Giles made it a three-point game with just under four minutes left in the half and the Bulldogs took a 30-29 edge to the locker room at intermission.

Cumberland scored 16 of the first 23 points of the second half, with Lawson and Kaitlin Oliver contributing field goals in the first three minutes. Oliver finished with eight points and four boards in 36 minutes of action.

Eldridge made a bucket and Quigley had an old-fashioned 3-point play to cut the CU advantage to two before the Bulldogs answered with a 10-2 spurt. Hall and Pryor made consecutive 3-pointers and Pryor added the last four points of the run for a 46-36 lead.

It took Pikeville just four minutes to trim the deficit to two, with Porter scoring on three straight trips before a free throw and then a short jumper by Castle making it 49-47 with 9:23 to play. Matchen's field goal cut the Bulldog lead to one before Quigley's 3-pointer gave the Bears a 52-50 advantage.

Pikeville hit just 3-for-8 from the field and committed three turnovers in the final seven minutes while the Bulldogs were 4-of-7 and had just one miscue.

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Cumberland, Cumberland basketball, Jalita Fason, Lady Bulldogs, MSC tournament
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