Ladies advance to MSC quarterfinals
FRANKFORT, Ky. – TaCouya Allen netted a team-best 16 points and Casie Cowan hit 5-of-6 free throws in the final 31.3 seconds helping No. 6-ranked Cumberland overcome a sluggish first half to down Lindsey Wilson College, 61-56, Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Mid-South Conference Championships.
With the win, the CU women (28-2) advance to the semifinals of the tournament Saturday at 1 p.m. to face the winner of St. Catharine College-Shawnee State.
Allen hit three 3-pointers among her 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds while Simone Ryan supplied the squad with crucial plays off the bench, recording 12 points and eight boards in 25 minutes of action.
Her three-ball from the top of the key pulled the Bulldogs within one and Allen’s fastbreak layup 21 seconds later put CU ahead with 12:31 remaining, the club’s first lead since the 14:43 mark of the first half.
Allen connected on another three and Ryan added a long two-pointer to put Cumberland ahead 50-44 with 6:13 left, but the Blue Raiders (16-14) failed to go quietly. Jasmine Brimm made a layup and two free throws, cutting the CU lead to 54-53 with 2:29 remaining, but a putback by London Elie pushed the lead back to three.
After a block by Elie on the other end, Cowan made the first free throw in the bonus for a four-point edge, but Kasey Litzinger connected on a 3-pointer from the corner for LWC with 19.7 seconds left, making it a one-point game again.
Cowan made both ends of the 1-plus-1 with 15.8 seconds left, but Lindsey Wilson still had a chance to tie, but Tara Arnold was called for a travel with 5.8 seconds remaining. Cowan was fouled again and hit both free throws for the final margin.
The game was a tale of two halves, with CU going almost eight minutes without a point in the first period, missing 11 consecutive shots during the stretch. The Blue Raiders took advantage, running off 12 straight points and holding onto the lead for more than half the contest.
Cumberland shot 33 percent in the opening 20 minutes and was 5-for-13 at the foul line while LWC connected on 57 percent from the field in the half. The second period was just the opposite, with Lindsey Wilson making just 30 percent from the floor and the Bulldogs improving to 40 percent, including 9-of-13 at the charity stripe.
Ashley Rainey led all players with 21 points and 12 rebounds, but the Bulldogs did a good job of keeping the Mid-South Conference Player of the Year in check, limiting her touches and easy scoring chances. Cumberland also rebounded much better in the second half and lost the overall rebounding margin by just one.
Brimm finished with 11 points and Litzinger had 10 for the Blue Raiders.
Jessica Pace added 14 points, four boards and two assists for the Bulldogs, while Briannica Tye handed out six assists but fouled out with 2:39 remaining, only the second time all season she was disqualified for fouls.
Allen hit a pair of 3-pointers and Ryan added a layup plus a traditional 3-point play and the Bulldogs led 11-7 at the 14:43 mark of the first half. But CU went ice cold from the field over the next seven-plus minutes, missing 11 consecutive shots, including five 3-pointers, and the Blue Raiders netted 12 straight points, five from Arnold, for a 19-11 advantage.
Pace’s basket off the glass ended a stretch of 7:39 without a point for Cumberland and from there the club battled its way back into the game, with Josette Campbell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer pulling the Bulldogs within 31-26 at the break. CU made only 9-of-27 shots in the period and even worse hit just 5-of-13 free throw attempts.