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Scoring runs boost Pioneers to 74-48 win over Virginia State

Mia Long had 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals against Virginia State (photo by Chuck Williams)
Mia Long had 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals against Virginia State (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Scoring runs in each of the first three quarters helped boost Tusculum University to a 74-48 victory over Virginia State University in non-conference women's basketball action Monday evening at Pioneer Arena.

Mia Long and Sydney Wilson scored 14 points apiece and Jasmine Williams had a career-high 10 rebounds for the Pioneers (4-0), who scored 31 points off 24 Virginia State turnovers and piled up 28 fast-break points in the win over the Trojans (3-2).

Chrisanna Green led all players with 18 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, but was the only player to reach double figures for Virginia State, which shot 34 percent (17-for-50) from the field as a team and just 11-for-26 (42.3 percent) at the foul line.

The Pioneers trailed 7-0 after two minutes, but scored nine straight points and held the Trojans without a field goal for more than 5 1/2 minutes to take a 16-9 lead. A 15-0 run early in the second quarter helped the lead reach double figures midway through the second quarter, and the Pioneers began the third quarter with a 12-2 run to build a lead that would not drop below 18 points the rest of the game.

Long shot 5-for-9 from the field and 4-for-5 from the foul line and had four assists and three steals for the Pioneers, while Wilson had five rebounds and three steals as Tusculum opened the season with four straight victories for the second straight year and avenged a 95-71 road loss at Virginia State on Nov. 22 of last season.

Callie Patterson also scored in double figures for Tusculum with 11 points as the Pioneers shot 40.6 percent (28-for-69) overall and 14-for-20 from the free-throw stripe. Tusculum turned the ball over just 10 times in the game and finished with a 45-41 rebounding edge over the Trojans.

Williams' 10 rebounds - all on the defensive end - surpassed her previous career high of nine boards set against Catawba on Jan. 21, 2017. Maddie Sutton had five rebounds off the bench and Kendrea Duke added four boards to go along with eight points for the Pioneers.

Virginia State connected on their first three field-goal attempts, including a three-pointer from Taylor Hayes that gave the Trojans a 7-0 lead just 1:46 into the first quarter. The Pioneers came back quickly as Wilson hit two three-pointers as part of a 9-0 run that gave Tusculum a 9-7 lead with 4:20 left in the first quarter.

Two foul shots from Wilson gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the quarter at 16-9 with 2:50 left, and Tusculum took a 20-15 advantage at the end of the opening period. Wilson led the Pioneers with eight points in the first quarter, while Green had a team-high eight points on 3-for-5 shooting for Virginia State.

A putback by Aja Robertson on the first possession of the second quarter brought the Trojans within 20-17, but Virginia State would go 0-for-7 from the field with five turnovers over the next 7 1/2 minutes as the Pioneers reeled off 15 points in a row.

The Pioneers led 37-23 at halftime as Wilson's eight points continued to lead the team. Tusculum shot 41.2 percent (14-for-34) from the field in the opening half and forced Virginia State into 36 percent shooting (9-for-25) with 11 turnovers. Green led the way in the first half for the Trojans with nine points and three rebounds.

Tusculum opened the third quarter by scoring 12 of the first 14 points to build a 49-25 lead. Wilson had four points while Long and Patterson had three points apiece during the surge, which saw the Trojans go 1-for-7 from the field with six turnovers. The Pioneers would lead 54-31 at the end of three quarters as the Trojans shot 3-for-12 from the field as a team and scored eight points for the second straight quarter.

Virginia State would pull within 56-38 on a layup by Yazmen Hannah with 8:10 to play to cap a run of five unanswered points, but Tusculum put the game away by holding the Trojans without a field goal for the final 3:28.

All 12 players who took the court for the Pioneers scored at least one point, as the Tusculum bench contributed 23 points as a unit. Jalia Arnwine finished with six points while Williams and Marta Rodrigues had four points apiece.

Hayes shot 3-for-3 from the field and had nine points for the Trojans, while Hannah finished with seven points and Robertson added six. Shalyn Washington came off the bench to grab six rebounds for Virginia State.

Tusculum will open South Atlantic Conference play on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at Anderson beginning at 6 p.m., kicking off a stretch of four straight conference games heading into the December break.

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