LEBANON -- Thirteenth-ranked University of the Cumberlands missed two crucial 1-and-1 opportunities in the final minute, but Cumberland committed a turnovers, missed two shots close-in and failed to get off a shot in the final 10 seconds, as the Patriots prevailed, 67-65, in women’s basketball action Wednesday afternoon in the Cumberland Classic at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The University of the Cumberlands (11-3) trailed by a point at the half before running off a 15-3 spurt over the first five minutes of the second period. The Patriots maintained the lead for most of the rest of the half, with Cumberland (6-3) unable to pull closer than five points.
UC led by 10 with 5:19 remaining after a pair of free throws by Sonia Thompson, but Cumberland put together an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to one, led by a pair of buckets from Allysia Bailey, a 3-pointer by Tamara Gonzalez and Keshia Brown’s driving layup with 2:10 left in the contest.
Amber Neace, who led all scorers with 25 points and was named the tournament MVP, answered with a 15-footer off the glass, but Bailey knocked down two more foul shots to keep the Bulldogs within a point.
Neace then grabbed an offensive rebound on the next trip down the floor and was fouled, hitting 1-of-2 free throws. Cumberland tried to find Gonzalez after a timeout, but Haley Ratliff made the steal and was fouled, but she missed the front end of a 1-plus-1.
Brown then drove to the lane for the Lady Bulldogs and found Simone Ryan for a layup, but the sophomore missed the shot, grabbed her own rebound and missed a much tougher opportunity. Cumberland fouled Stephanie Quattrociocchi, but she too missed a 1-and-1 chance, giving CU another shot.
But Bailey dribbled around and the Lady Bulldogs never got off a shot to either tie the game or win it.
Brown led Cumberland with 17 points, while Bailey posted 14 points and Gonzalez adding 13. Gonzalez earned All-Tournament accolades after her 28-point performance the night before in a victory over Tennessee Wesleyan.
Quattrociocchi scored 13 points for UC, while Lauren Wombles and Thompson both netted 10. Wombles also earned All-Tournament honors after scoring 17 points in Tuesday’s victory over Martin Methodist.
Cumberland shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as six at 26-20 after a pair of free throws from Bailey with 5:22 left in the period. The Bulldogs committed nine turnovers, which led to 13 UC points in the half, and the Patriots scored 20 points off turnovers in the contest.
But the home team did a good job defensively against the Patriots in the first half, limiting UC to just 40 percent shooting (13-for-32). Neace scored 12 points for the visitors, including a 3-pointer with just three seconds left in the half to cut the Cumberland advantage to 33-32 at intermission.
Cumberland next opens TranSouth Conference play at Lyon College January 7 and plays host to Freed-Hardeman Saturday, January 9 at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
2009 Cumberland Classic All-Tournament Team: Whitney Robison, Martin Methodist; Lindsey Jackson, Tennessee Wesleyan; Lauren Wombles, Univ. of the Cumberlands; Tamara Gonzalez, Cumberland Univ.; and Amber Neace, Univ. of the Cumberlands (MVP)