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Pioneers fall 51-47 in overtime to Wingate on Senior Day

Seniors Lovely Locklear, Yolizma Cupidan, Kendrea Duke and Callie Patterson (photo by Chuck Williams)
Seniors Lovely Locklear, Yolizma Cupidan, Kendrea Duke and Callie Patterson (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Teliyah Jeter recorded 11 points, 14 rebounds and nine blocked shots and scored four points in overtime as Wingate University outlasted Tusculum University 51-47 in the South Atlantic Conference women's basketball regular-season finale Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at Pioneer Arena.

Caroline Averette had a game-high 15 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (20-7, 15-5 SAC), who secured the number-two seed in the conference tournament by holding the Pioneers to a season-low 28.1 percent shooting (16-for-57) from the field, including 1-for-9 in overtime.

Kendrea Duke was the only player to reach double figures for Tusculum (16-8, 8-8 SAC) with team highs of 11 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots. The Pioneers were outrebounded 45-32 by the Bulldogs and managed just 12 points off 25 Wingate turnovers.

With the loss, Tusculum was awarded the seventh seed in the SAC Championship tournament. The Pioneers will turn around and travel to Wingate to play the Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday night at Cuddy Arena, where Wingate beat Tusculum 73-67 in their regular-season meeting on Jan. 19.

Jeter shot just 2-for-10 from the field, but was 7-for-10 at the foul line and grabbed 12 of her 14 rebounds on the defensive end. She had four blocked shots in the second quarter, three more in the third, and one each in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Tusculum led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter but shot 22.7 percent (5-for-22) from the field in the second half. The Pioneers were 8-for-22 overall from three-point range and 7-for-11 at the foul line, compared to 14-for-18 at the stripe for the Bulldogs. Wingate scored all six of its points in overtime from the foul line.

The Pioneers never trailed in the first quarter, leading by as many as eight points as Jasmine Williams capped an 11-3 run with a three-pointer to give Tusculum a 16-8 lead with 1:29 left in the quarter. Tusculum lead 16-9 after one quarter behind five points from Duke and three-pointers from Williams, Yolizma Cupidan and Callie Patterson.

After a layup by Averette cut the Tusculum lead to 16-13, the Pioneers went on 10-2 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes which included three-pointers from Lovely Locklear and Jalia Arnwine, the latter giving Tusculum a 26-15 lead with 4:12 to go in the half. Wingate responded with six unanswered points before Patterson made a jumper just before the buzzer to give Tusculum a 28-21 lead at halftime.

Duke led Tusculum with seven points in the first half and Patterson added five as the Pioneers shot 38.5 percent (10-for-26) from the field, while receiving five three-pointers from five different players. Courtney Robinson led Wingate with six points in the first half, with Jeter contributing five points, six rebounds and four blocked shots as the Bulldogs shot 37.5 percent (9-for-24) as a team.

Wingate's run to close the first half was extended to 13-2 as Jasmine Stephen hit a tying basket with 4:29 left in the third quarter to deadlock the game at 28-28. However, a three-pointer by Williams and a foul shot by Mia Long pushed Tusculum back ahead 32-28 with 3:44 to play. The teams swapped the lead four times the rest of the quarter, with a three-pointer by Arnwine with 23 seconds to go giving the Pioneers a 37-35 lead heading to the fourth.

Another three by Arnwine to start the fourth quarter gave Tusculum a 40-35 edge with 8:28 left, but the Pioneers would go without a field goal for the next eight minutes as the Bulldog defense limited Tusculum to three free throws, along with three missed shots and four turnovers. Wingate tied the game on two free throws by Averette with 3:35 left, and took the lead at 45-43 on a bucket from Averette with 2:19 to go.

After an exchange of turnovers followed by an exchange of missed shots, Tusculum tied the game at 45-45 with 22.0 seconds remaining on a shot off glass by Duke, and forced Wingate into a turnover with six seconds to go. However, the Bulldogs' Averette blocked a potential game-winning layup as time expired to send the game to overtime.

In the extra period, Wingate took the lead at 47-45 on two free throws by Jeter with 3:24 left. Jeter then blocked Duke on the other end and canned two more foul shots with 3:00 left for a 49-45 Bulldogs lead. Tusculum converted on a fourth offensive opportunity as Duke scored with 1:28 left to cut the Wingate lead to 49-47, and had possession with a chance to tie in the final minute. However, Patterson and Long were off-target on three-point attempts and Jo Snow clinched the win for Wingate by going 2-for-2 at the line with 3.9 seconds left.

Long finished with seven points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals while playing all 45 minutes for the Pioneers. Williams had seven points and seven rebounds, and Arnwine finished with nine points and three rebounds in 39 minutes of action.

For Wingate, Danasia Witherspoon tallied seven points and eight rebounds and Robinson added eight points. Taylor Helms scored two points, but had five rebounds and a team-high five assists in 25 minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs.

Tusculum and Wingate have met three times in the SAC Tournament, with the Bulldogs winning two of the three meetings. Wingate won the only previous quarterfinal matchup in 2005, while the Bulldogs beat the Pioneers in the 2008 SAC title game and Tusculum returned the favor in 2011.

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