Tusculum uses 4th-quarter run to defeat Lees-McRae, 63-57

Tusculum uses 4th-quarter run to defeat Lees-McRae, 63-57

BRISTOL, Tenn. --- Maelyn Head scored 21 points as Tusculum College defeated Lees-McRae College 63-57 in women's basketball action as part of the South Atlantic Conference/Conference Carolinas Challenge at King University on Saturday.

Jasmine Queen added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers (1-1), who also received seven points, five rebounds and six steals from Benedicta Makakala in the win over the Bobcats (0-2). Regan Croff led all players with 11 rebounds as the Pioneers outrebounded the Bobcats by a 44-34 margin, including 15-8 on the offensive glass.

Jordan Soares led Lees-McRae with 16 points and nine rebounds, with Brea Forbes adding 15 points and 10 rebounds. However, the Bobcats shot 4-for-20 from three-point range and committed 24 turnovers which led to 17 points by the Pioneers.

Head scored 12 of her 21 points in the second quarter as the Pioneers built a 37-25 lead at halftime, only to see the Bobcats close the third quarter with a 14-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 44-43. However, Queen and Head combined for 12 points in the fourth quarter and Tara Shields scored five straight points during a decisive 11-0 run as Tusculum outscored Lees-McRae 20-13 in the final 10 minutes.

Tusculum scored on its first two possessions on baskets by Head and Callie Patterson, and extended the lead to 6-0 on two free throws by Makakala with 7:30 left in the first period. Lees-McRae got on the board after missing its first six shots when Caitlin Brown scored on a putback with 3:44 remaining in the period, cutting the Pioneer lead to 6-2. Tusculum added to its lead on a three-point play by Makakala, a jumper by Patterson and a layup by Makakala to take a 13-4 lead after one quarter.

A Queen layup gave the Pioneers a double-digit lead at 19-9 with 6:53 left in the first half, but a bucket from Soares brought the Bobcats back to within 23-17 with 4:56 remaining. However, Head hit a three-pointer and Patterson connected on a layup to push the Pioneer lead back to 28-17 with 4:19 left in the half. Head added two more field goals and two free throws in the latter stages of the half as the Pioneers went to the locker room with a 37-25 lead.

Head paced all players with 14 points in the first half, while Patterson had eight points and Makakala seven. Soares was the leading scorer off the bench for the Bobcats with eight points, with Breana Hartnett adding seven points. Croff led all players with seven rebounds in the first half as Tusculum led Lees-McRae on the glass 24-10 in the opening half.

SHields hit a three-pointer to give the Pioneers a 40-27 lead less than 90 seconds into the third quarter, and the Tusculum lead was at 43-30 after two foul shots by Queen with 6:38 to go. However, Tusculum would not score again in the quarter as it missed on its final 11 shots from the field.

Meanwhile, back-to-back three-pointers from Markia Stacey and Forbes helped the Bobcats pull within 43-36 midway through the quarter, and a basket from Hardnett brought the deficit to one point at 43-42 with 3:29 left. After more than three minutes of scoreless play, Forbes broke the ice on a layup with eight seconds left to send the Bobcats to the fourth quarter with their first lead of the afternoon at 44-43.

Tusculum quickly regained the lead 40 seconds into the fourth quarter on a three-pointer by Head, but Soares hit two foul shots to even the score at 46-46 with 8:04 left. Queen gave the Pioneers the lead for good on a layup with 7:53 remaining, and Head followed with another bucket for a 50-46 lead at the 7:38 mark. After a foul shot by Queen, Shields drained another three-pointer with 6:33 left, and hit two free throws with 6:16 on the clock for a 56-46 lead. Another free throw by Queen with 5:55 to play capped the 11-0 run, which was snapped on a Stacey three-pointer with 4:50 remaining.

The Bobcats would cut the deficit to five points twice in the final 30 seconds, but Head hit a pair of free throws with 22 seconds left and Morgan Depew added a foul shot with seven seconds remaining to set the final score.

Depew finished with five points and three rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench for the Pioneers, while Shields had eight points in 23 minutes. Queen went 8-for-13 from the foul line in the contest, as Tusculum turned in a 20-for-27 performance at the stripe compared to 7-for-10 for Lees-McRae. Jasmine Williams was also active off the bench for the Pioneers, with three rebounds and two blocked shots in just eight minutes of playing time.

The Pioneers will play their home and SAC openers on Saturday, Nov. 19 at Pioneer Arena against defending SAC Tournament champion Wingate. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.