MCKENZIE – Cold shooting and foul troubles in the second half put No. 7 Cumberland in the hole and the Bulldogs were not able to recover, falling 70-61 to 23rd-ranked Oklahoma Baptist in the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Shootout Classic here Friday night in the season-opener for both teams at Crisp Arena.
Cumberland (0-1) finishes action in the event Saturday at 4 p.m. against the host and 16th-ranked Bethel Wildcats.
The Bulldogs led 26-22 at halftime, but the Bison (1-0) opened the second half with a 17-6 run that included six points apiece from Zbeyda Aremi and Jalissa Council, all basically inside the paint. CU picked up eight fouls during that stretch, with Katie Smith fouling out and Calamity Jane Coley picking up her fourth foul.
Meanwhile Cumberland was getting good shots but nothing seemed to fall, with the club hitting just 3-for-11 from the field in the first eight minutes of the second half. OBU hit 47 percent in the second half, with back-breaking 3-pointers from Marida Lewis and Allie Brandenburg that stretched the Bison advantage to 54-42 with 7:52 remaining.
Coley scored five quick points for CU, part of her team-leading 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, but even the sophomore’s soft hooks around the basket went in-and-out on several occasions. The Bulldogs used a 9-2 late in the contest to pull within eight, with two field goals from Kishaun Williams and three points by Brittany Lawson, but that was as close as CU would get.
TaCouya Allen added 11 points and eight rebounds for Cumberland, but the squad committed 21 turnovers and had just five assists in the game.
Aremi led all scorers with 21 points and Elisabeth Daniels and Council posted 11 points each for Oklahoma Baptist, which takes on No. 21 University of the Cumberlands on Saturday in the event.
Both teams started slowly, with the Bulldogs unable to knock down several shots from inside eight feet, the ball rolling off the rim. OBU was a little better in the early going, as Aremi hit one basket and a pair of free throws.
A 3-pointer from Daniels gave the Bison an 11-8 advantage with 12:30 to play in the opening half, but OBU had just one field goal over the next eight-plus minute and CU took advantage.
Cumberland started the game just 6-of-15 from the field, but Katie Smith’s trifecta from the top of the key seemed to ignite the offense. The Bulldogs put together a 14-3 spurt over a six-minute stretch, highlighted by a 3-pointer and a driving layup from Allen and two baskets by Coley.
CU struggled offensively over the final five minutes of the period, though, and Oklahoma Baptist cut an eight-point deficit to four before the break. Aremi scored the final four points of the period for the Bison, but Casie Cowan’s 1-plus-1 gave the Bulldogs a 26-22 advantage at intermission.
Smith led the Bulldogs with seven points in the first half, but the redshirt sophomore picked up three quick fouls after the break, beginning the foul troubles for the club. Cumberland was whistled for 25 personal fouls in the game and OBU knocked down 20-of-27 at the charity stripe, including 15-for-19 in the second half.