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Sigh of relief
Feb 08, 2013 4:30 pm
Late steal preserves one-point Lady Bulldog win
TaCouya Allen hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points and No. 6 Cumberland raced out to a 20-point lead early in the second half but had to hold on, stealing a deflected pass in the final seconds in a 60-59 victory over 12th-ranked Campbellsville in women’s basketball action here Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (23-1, 14-1 Mid-South) won their third straight nailbiter and beat the Tigers (18-6, 10-4) for the second time this season, with the two wins by a combined four points. Allen nailed four trifectas in the first half and added another 3-pointer and a tough drive off glass in the opening minutes of the second period but failed to score over the final 16:19 of the contest.
Cumberland played the final 13:01 of the game without leading scorer and rebounder Jessica Pace, who was injured when her ankle landed on another player under the basket after a putback. That bucket put the Bulldogs ahead, 51-36, but CU made just 2-of-10 shots and committed six turnovers after she left the game.
"That's a tough blow for our team," Cumberland coach Jeremy Lewis said of Pace. "She's kind of our rock. She's the backbone of our basketball team. She's our emotional leader. She's our leading scorer and leading rebounder for a reason.
"When she got hurt, you could see, we deflated ourselves for the rest of the basketball game. We were lucky we had built up enough of a cushion."
Campbellsville took advantage, putting together a 23-9 run to end the game, which included nine points from Lindsey Burd and four by Hayley Hellyer. Mary Jehlik scored on a pick-and-roll for the Tigers with 2:48 left, cutting the CU lead to 60-55, but Simone Ryan grabbed two offensive rebounds and London Elie made both foul shots with 1:33 remaining to push the lead back to five.
Katie Allen nailed a trifecta from the wing for Campbellsville with 1:12 left, making it a two-point game, and Burd grabbed the defensive rebound and was fouled on the other end, sending her to the line to two shots with 43.2 seconds remaining. The freshman missed the first but made the second and Mrashi Karumba stole the ball from Elie on CU’s next possession, giving the Tigers the ball with 14 seconds.
Campbellsville had trouble getting into any sort of offense after the ball was inbounded and Samantha Harper knocked away a pass to the post, with the ball bouncing into the arms of Allen just before the final buzzer sounded, preserving the one-point victory.
"We did a great job of blowing the play up from the start," Lewis said. "We wanted to deny their point guard the ball. We made their post kid step up and have to catch the basketball. I don't think that was in the plan for their play because she looked like a deer in the headlights when she got it. She was facing our bench, which was great because she didn't know where to go with it. And I think we had them pushed out 38 or 40 feet from the basket trying to get a shot.
"I felt like if we stayed poised and just guarded, guarded and guarded, that we could get through the game. I knew they were going to score some baskets. Campbellsville, I think, is one of the top-10 teams in the country."
Pace finished with 10 points and a team-high six rebounds in 18 minutes of action, while Harper and Ryan combined for seven points and seven boards off the bench for CU. Josette Campbell added 11 points, including a huge 3-pointer at the 7:13 mark to stave off the visitors, at least for a little longer.
Allen led the Tigers with 12 points and handed out five assists, while Burd netted 10 points off the bench, but the duo was the only two players in double figures for Campbellsville.
Neither team started the game particularly well and the Tigers put together a 6-2 mini-run midway through the period thanks to a pair of jumpers from Jehlik and two free throws by Karumba for a 16-13 edge with 8:10 left in the period. From there the Bulldogs scorched the nets the rest of the half, starting with a 3-pointer from Allen that tied the contest at 16.
The junior hit three more trifectas before the half, as Cumberland put together a 25-8 run over the final eight minutes, hitting nine consecutive shots at one point, the final one a 3-pointer from Campbell with 2:18 to play in the period. Harper made two free throws in the final minute and the Bulldogs led 38-24 at the break.
Cumberland shot 56 percent from the field and made 5-of-10 from behind the arc, with Allen leading the way with 13 points. The Tigers committed nine turnovers, which CU turned into 14 points, and the visitors were also cold from the field, hitting just 7-of-21 shots in the period.
"We hit a good flow, a good spurt about halfway through the first half," Lewis said. "TaCouya got hot. When she made her first one, our kids did a good job of continuing to look for her."
Cumberland will host Lindsey Wilson on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center, the second in a four-game homestand, as the regular season nears the end.
Sports Editor Andy Reed contributed to this story.