Pioneers sneak by Tornados, 82-72 in SAC Play

Box Score

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – The Brevard College women’s basketball team battled a close game with Tusculum before falling, 82-72, on Wednesday evening in South Atlantic Conference (SAC) action in Pioneer Arena.

It was the Tornados final matchup of the regular season as Tusculum took the season series 2-0 after winning back on November 25, 2014 in a double-overtime thriller.

The Tornados (2-8 overall, 1-6 SAC) were led by junior Katie Williams, who finished a rebound shy of a double-double with 22 points and nine rebounds. She was 8-for-20 from the field, including 6-10 from beyond the arc. Three other Tornados finished with 10+ points. Sophomore Madison Lenox finished with 17 points and six assists before fouling out, while junior Hadara Bannister had 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Freshman Whitney DeMoss scored her first collegiate points, finishing with 10 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes of action before fouling out. Senior Taylor Hiatt finished with six points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.

Rainy Story led all scorers while leading the Pioneers (3-7 overall, 3-4 SAC) with 23 points, 14 of which came in the second half. She also had nine rebounds and three steals. Maelyn Cutshaw had 19 points, five assists and four steals while Shynese Whitener had 14 points, three rebounds, and a blocked shot. Kristen McMillion finished with 12 points and eight boards in just 19 minutes.

The Pioneers opened the scoring but the teams traded baskets over the first 8:25 as Tusculum led 16-13.  Lenox scored six of Brevard’s 13 points in that time. Williams gave the Tornados their first lead of the game on back-to-back three-pointers, giving her team a 19-18 lead with 10:53 left in the half.

Over the final nine minutes of the first half, it was a close battle all the way. Lenox tied the game at 25 and 27 on three-of-four from the free throw line. Tusculum built a four point lead with 6:24 left going up 33-29 on Story’s free throws before Williams cut the lead in half on a jumper.

After sophomore Nicole Graham grabbed a defensive rebound, she weaved through the entire Tusculum defense and hit a jumper on the fast break to tie the game at 33 with just over five minutes in the half. The game was tied again at 37 with 3:53 to play in the half before Tusculum ended the half with a 45-44 lead.

The Pioneers opened the second half with a five point lead in the first 1:56 but the Tornados did not back down as they Williams, Bannister, and Lenox made three straight layups to give the Tornados a 50-49 lead with 15:08 left in the game.

Once again the teams traded baskets before Tusculum took a 53-52 lead with 12:48 left. Following a media timeout, Story added to the Pioneers lead on back-to-back free throws with just over 11 minutes left. Bannister ended a 4:57 scoreless stretch for the Tornados on a lay up to cut the lead to one.

Tusculum continued to knock down its free throw attempts building a five point lead with 9:17 left before Hiatt cut the lead to three. Story answered with a layup before Tornados’ senior Jennifer Martin knocked down two free throws with 8:13 left as Tusculum led 61-58.

Williams knocked down a three pointer and while Lenox hit a jumper to tie the game at 63 with just over five and a half left in the game. Story converted on a three-point play after being fouled to put Tusculum up 66-63 and then Whitener made a jump shot with 4:15 left to build another five point lead.

Lenox was fouled with 3:44 left and made the first of two free throws before Whitener broke down the floor for the fast break lay up to give Tusculum a 70-64 lead. Hiatt hit a jumped to cut the lead to four with 3:18 left but Story again was able to convert  and one play for a 73-66 lead.

Williams drained two three pointers to cut Tusculum’s lead to 75-72. That was all Brevard would get as they were held scoreless over the final 50 seconds and the Pioneers hit seven free throws.

The Tornados shot 48.2 percent from the field in the game, which was their second-best field goal percentage of the season, including 53.3 percent in the opening half and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. The Pioneers were held to 40.3 percent from the field.

The key stat in this game was that Tusculum had 20 second chance points on 12 offensive rebounds even though they were outrebounded by a small 39-38 edge for Brevard but had a 12-6 advantage on the offensive side.  They also scored 28 points off turnovers compared to Brevard’s 15 and had a slim 42-34 tilt on points in the paint.

Brevard also tied the game seven times, including six in the first half and there were 14 lead changes in the game as each team had seven. Each team each made 27 field goals but the difference was the free throws as Tusculum was 25-31 from the line while Brevard was only 11-21.

Brevard heads to Salisbury, North Carolina on Saturday, January 10 to take on Catawba. The game is set for 2 p.m.

Featured image courtesy of Tommy Moss.

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