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Big second half from Duke boosts Pioneers past Queens, 58-41

Big second half from Duke boosts Pioneers past Queens, 58-41

CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Kendrea Duke scored all of her game-high 18 points in the second half and Tusculum University held Queens University of Charlotte to 13 points after halftime as the Pioneers defeated the Royals 58-41 Saturday afternoon in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action at the Levine Center.

Duke also had 12 rebounds for her third double-double of the season -- all in the last eight games -- as the Pioneers (16-6, 8-6 SAC) earned their third straight win and moved a half-game ahead of Lincoln Memorial for fourth place in the conference standings with six games remaining in the regular season.

Yolizma Cupidan added 13 points and six rebounds and Mia Long had 11 points and five steals as the Pioneers limited the Royals to 28.6 percent (6-for-21) from the field in the second half while forcing 13 turnovers. Tusculum took the lead for good midway through the third quarter and built their advantage to as many as 19 points in winning their fourth straight over Queens.

Lade Adepoju led the Royals (8-13, 3-12 SAC) with a game-high 14 rebounds and Jaleah Goff scored a team-best 13 points, but Queens finished the game with 26 turnovers to offset a slight edge in shooting over Tusculum, 36.2 percent to 34.8 percent. Kristian Eanes also reached double figures for the Royals with 10 points.

Tusculum trailed 12-5 as a layup by Jaymi Golden with 4:24 left in the opening quarter capped an early 9-0 run for Queens. Tusculum came right back with seven straight points, the last four on back-to-back layups by Cupidan to tie the game at 12-12 with 1:21 left in the quarter. A three-pointer by Marta Rodrigues just before the end of the period left the Pioneers with an 18-15 lead.

The Pioneers' lead reached 21-15 on a jumper by Cupidan with 6:41 left in the first half, but the Royals retaliated with an 11-4 surge to go ahead 26-25 at the 2:49 mark on the second of back-to-back baskets from Eanes. A three-pointer by Jalia Arnwine and a putback by Cupidan helped Tusculum restore its lead, which stood at 30-28 entering halftime.

Cupidan led all players with 11 points in the first half on 5-for-7 shooting as Tusculum hit 34.3 percent (12-for-35) overall and just 4-for-16 from three-point range. Adepoju had a game-high 11 rebounds in the opening half, while Eanes was the top scorer for Queens with eight points. The Royals shot 42.3 percent (11-for-26) from the field, but turned the ball over 12 times and shot just 5-for-12 at the foul line.

Tusculum maintained its lead through the early stages of the third quarter, but a basket by Goff tied the game at 35-35 with 5:19 left in the third quarter. Duke, who scored each of the first seven points of the third quarter for Tusculum, hit the tiebreaking layup with 4:50 left in the quarter to spark a 9-2 run to close the period. Queens was 1-for-7 from the field with four turnovers in the final five minutes of the quarter as Tusculum led 44-37 heading to the fourth.

Duke and Long took over in the fourth quarter for the Pioneers, with Duke scoring eight points and Long adding four. Meanwhile, the Royals went just 2-for-9 from the field in the final 10 minutes as the Pioneers outscored the Royals 14-4 in the fourth quarter.

Queens had a 44-35 edge in rebounding over Tusculum, but the Pioneers had a 12-3 advantage in second-chance points. The Pioneers scored 20 points off 26 Royals turnovers, while committing just 12 turnovers of their own and only one in the fourth quarter.

Jasmine Williams had five points, five rebounds and three blocked shots for the Pioneers, while Arnwine, Rodrigues and Mya Belton each connected on a three-pointer off the Tusculum bench.

Lauren Fields had seven blocked shots for Queens and contributed four points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes for the Royals. In addition to her 14 boards, Adepoju also had a game-high six assists in 33 minutes of playing time.

The Pioneers will return to the road on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Mars Hill beginning at 6 p.m. Tusculum defeated Mars Hill 79-46 at home in their first meeting of the season on Jan. 9.

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