GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Mia Long led five Tusculum players in double figures with a game-high 19 points as the Pioneers cruised to a 74-51 victory over Anderson in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action Thursday night at Pioneer Arena.
Sydney Wilson added 17 points, Yolizma Cupidan contributed 11 points and Kasey Johnson and Kendrea Duke had 10 apiece for the Pioneers (12-4, 7-3 SAC), who went on 16-0 runs in each half while shooting 47 percent (31-for-66) from the field and committing a season-low six turnovers.
Ace Easter paced the Trojans (12-6, 6-4 SAC) with 11 points off the bench, but was the only player to reach double figures for Anderson. The Trojans shot 39.6 percent (21-for-53) from the field and committed 17 turnovers which the Pioneers turned into 20 points. The Trojans, who entered the game allowing just 55.9 points per game, allowed 70 points for just the sixth time in 18 games this season.
Tusculum scored 16 straight points in the first quarter to build a lead that would not fall out of double digits, and led by as many as 31 points in the fourth quarter. The Pioneers shot 7-for-14 from three-point range and outscored the Trojans 46-28 in the paint.
Long, who has scored in double figures in six of her last seven games, shot 8-for-10 from the field and added three steals in 28 minutes of playing time. Wilson's 17 points came on 7-for-14 shooting from the floor and included three three-pointers. The Pioneers did not commit their first turnover until midway through the second quarter, and the six turnovers were the fewest for Tusculum since committing just five turnovers against Queens on Feb. 27, 2016.
Anderson took its only lead of the game on a layup by Alexis Dillard on the game's opening possession, with Long answering with a three-pointer on the Pioneers' first possession to give Tusculum the lead for good just 46 seconds into the game. Johnson had seven points and Long five during the Pioneers' 16-0 run, which spanned more than 4 1/2 minutes and included seven missed shots and three turnovers. The Pioneers led 29-11 at the end of the first quarter after shooting 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) from the field and committing zero turnovers. Long was 5-for-5 from the floor, including two three-pointers, and had 12 points to lead the Pioneers in the quarter.
A three-pointer by Wilson at the start of the second quarter gave the Pioneers a 32-11 lead, and the margin stood at 20 at 37-17 after another three from Wilson with 4:59 to play in the half. Anderson then outscored Tusculum 15-6 over the next 3 1/2 minutes, pulling within 43-32 on a three-pointer by Easter with 1:27 to play in the quarter. However, Wilson hit her third three of the quarter to send Tusculum to the locker room with a 46-32 lead.
The Pioneers were led in the first half by Wilson, who scored 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting, while Long added 12 and Johnson 10. Tusculum shot 51.4 percent (18-for-35) from the field and a scorching 7-for-9 from three-point range in the half. Anderson, which shot 41.4 percent (12-for-29) as a team, was led by 11 points from Easter who hit all three of her field goals from beyond the arc.
Tusculum went on another 16-0 run over a stretch of just over seven minutes in the third quarter, turning a 48-34 lead into a 64-34 bulge following a basket by Cupidan with 1:34 left in the period. Cupidan had eight points in the quarter for the Pioneers, who shot an even 50 percent from the field (9-for-18) to take a 64-38 lead into the fourth quarter. A foul shot by Long gave Tusculum its largest lead at 73-42 with 3:54 to play, before Anderson closed the game on a 9-2 run to cut the final margin to 23 points.
For the Pioneers, Duke shot 4-for-8 from the field and had six rebounds to go with her 10 points in 13 minutes of action off the bench. Johnson had five rebounds along with 10 points for the Pioneers, while Martoria Patton finished with a team-high nine rebounds and added four points in 25 minutes.
Off the bench for Anderson, Alexis Tate had nine points, three rebounds and four assists in 16 minutes, while Taylor Hair had eight points, nine rebounds and a pair of blocks. The Trojan bench outscored the Pioneer bench by a 38-13 margin, as the Anderson starters combined for just 13 points on 6-for-25 shooting from the field. Alexis Dillard, who entered the game as the Trojans' leading scorer (11.6 ppg) and rebounder (8.6 ppg) battled foul trouble and finished with four points and five rebounds in 17 minutes.
Anderson finished the game with a 37-33 advantage in rebounding, including 12 offensive rebounds, but scored just seven second-chance points. Neither team was able to produce much at the foul line, with the Trojans going 4-for-8 at the stripe and the Pioneers shooting 5-for-7 as a team.
Tusculum will have a quick turnaround as the Pioneers will be on the road Saturday at Queens for a 2 p.m. tipoff against the Royals. The Pioneers defeated the Royals 66-57 at Pioneer Arena on Dec. 2 in the first meeting of the season between the teams.