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CU women drop 57-51 decision to No. 4 Vestment in NAIA Championships

Staff Reports • Mar 15, 2018 at 3:49 PM

BILLINGS, Mont. — Kyra Tucker made four 3-pointers and scored 15 points and Cumberland connected on 11 3-pointers in the contest, but fourth-ranked Westmont College netted 11 of the final 14 points of the game over the final three minutes, holding off the Phoenix, 57-51, in the opening round of the 38th annual NAIA Championships at Rimrock Auto Arena on Thursday.

The contest featured 12 lead changes and seven ties and Cumberland led 48-46 after a Tucker 3-pointer with 4:12 remaining. The Phoenix made just 1-of-6 from the field in the last four minutes, opening the door for the fourth-ranked Warriors.

Morgan Haskin tied the game at 48 with a basket for Westmont and scored again on the next offensive possession, adding a free throw on the foul for a 51-48 Warriors edge with 2:07 to play. Lauren McCoy posted her own old-fashioned 3-point play for Westmont as well, extending the lead to 54-48.

Micah Norris ended the scoring drought for the Phoenix with a 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining and Cumberland got a defensive stop on the other end, but Westmont’s Joy Krupa grabbed the offensive board, one of 11 offensive rebounds for the Warriors.

McCoy was fouled and made two free throws in the final 10 seconds, sealing the victory for Westmont. McCoy finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds, far above her season averages of 14.1 and 7.9. The Warriors posted only seven second-chance points but continued to steal possessions in the contests thanks to the offensive boards.

Ant’Treasia Patton collected 12 points and six rebounds for the Phoenix but hit just 5 of 15 shots overall while Norris recorded 10 points and five boards in only 25 minutes because of foul trouble. Janisha Lindsey registered six points, three rebounds and five assists as well for CU.

Three-pointers from Tucker and Norris gave Cumberland a 6-2 lead early in the contest, but baskets from McCoy, Haskin and Krupa knotted the game at eight. Patton’s triple in the final 15 seconds put the Phoenix ahead, 15-14, at the end of 10 minutes.

Westmont netted the first nine points of the second quarter, including a 3-pointer by Maud Ranger and field goals from Haskin, McCoy and Cassidy Tiegs. The Phoenix answered with an 8-2 spurt, starting with a 3-pointer from Lindsey as well as a trifecta by Carli Codner-Pinto.

Kaitlin Oliver’s basket with 1:13 left in the half cut the deficit to two, but McCoy added two foul shots in the last 10 seconds for a 27-23 Warriors advantage at intermission. Cumberland shot just 31 percent in the half but made five 3-pointers while committing only two turnovers. McCoy posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 5 of 8 shots while the rest of the Warriors were 5-for-17 from the field.

The lead changed hands four times in the first six minutes of the third quarter, with a basket by Norris and a 3-pointer from Tucker giving CU a 31-29 edge. One free throw from Lindsey made it 34-32 CU, but Westmont scored the next seven points, including two baskets by McCoy and a 3-pointer from Lauren Tsuneishi.

Tucker’s triple from the wing ended the period, cutting the Warriors lead to 39-37.

Cumberland started the final period with an 8-2 run thanks to a field goal by Patton, three foul shots from Tucker and the second 3-pointer of the game by Codner-Pinto, pushing the Phoenix ahead, 45-41, with 7:53 to play. Ranger answered with a triple for Westmont, but the final three of the game by Tucker made it 48-46 with 4:12 remaining, setting up the final minutes in the contest.

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