Calamity Jane Coley tied her career-high with 31 points and Casie Cowan added 18, all in the second half, as 22nd-ranked Cumberland used a 20-5 run to begin the second half in a 75-62 victory over St. Catharine on Thursday night at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (7-4, 3-0 Mid-South) won their fourth straight contest overall and first since Dec. 16. In what would be deemed a total team effort, TaCouya Allen and Katie Smith both grabbed 13 rebounds for CU while Tasia Blue handed out six assists and Cowan added six helpers.
“It’s always hard when you haven’t played a game in three weeks, kind of rhythm stuff,” Cumberland coach Jeremy Lewis said. “Offensively in the first half, outside of CJ [Coley], we were really out of rhythm. Second half, you could see that rhythm coming around, especially from the perimeter people like Casie. Shooting is all about rhythm. Hopefully, some of these kids got a bad game out of the way.”
Coley helped Cumberland build a 10-point advantage in the first half, with the club netting 13 second-chance points on 11 offensive rebounds. The sophomore from Macon County hit 8 of 13 shots, but her teammates were just 4-for-23 from the field.
The Patriots (3-8, 1-2) cut the 10-point deficit to three and then used a 9-0 spurt at the end of the half to knot the game at 28 at the break.
Cowan came out on first in the second half, knocking down three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the period. Coley added a pair of buckets and Allen hit a layup plus the free throw before Cowan’s 15-footer on the break put the Bulldogs ahead, 48-33, with 14:16 remaining in the game.
St. Catharine would not go away though, using a 19-9 run to cut the deficit to five. Heather Sandlin netted eight of her 12 points during the run, including a pair of old-fashioned 3-point plays, and Lexus Edwards posted the first six points of the spurt, making it 57-52 CU with 9:23 remaining.
“St. Catharine is one of those teams that always play well, really scrappy, they never quit playing,” Lewis said. “There were three or four times in the game where we got up eight, nine or 10 points and we couldn’t get them away from us. They were like gnats, they wouldn’t go away.”
Blue’s only bucket of the game, a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock, finally ended the run, and Cowan nailed a fadeaway 17-footer on an out-of-bounds play to push the lead back to 10. Another jumper from Cowan and then a 3-point play by Coley with just over two minutes to play put the game away for Cumberland.
“Layce Colter and Terra Pryor were huge off the bench for us in the second half when we got into some foul trouble,” Lewis said. “It’s always good to see Casie Cowan making shots. She goes goose egg in the first half and 18 in the second half for us.
“CJ [Coley] is a load in the paint to handle. We want to play through her as much as we can. We may not be able to directly pass it to her every time down the floor, but she may be able to get a touch when we don’t pass it to her because when we miss shots, she can slam that back side and get a board and put it in.”
Machera Calhoun paced the Patriots with 13 points and six assists and Edwards finished with 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Bulldogs put together an early 9-2 run thanks to an old-fashioned 3-point play from Coley and a trifecta by Terra Pryor. Two more buckets by Coley caused a timeout by the Patriots with CU holding a 15-7 advantage eight minutes into the contest.
Smith’s short turnaround off the glass pushed the Bulldog lead to 10, but the Patriots responded with its own 9-2 spurt that included a pair of driving layups by Edwards and a 3-pointer from Cora Moore.
Coley netted three straight buckets late in the period, two on putbacks, giving Cumberland a 28-19 lead with 2:31 left in the period, but again St. Catharine came back, this time going on a 9-0 run to end the half.
Kourtney Belcher hit a short jumper before a long 3-pointer from Stacie Shrout. Belcher’s 17-footer from the wing just before the final buzzer knotted the score at 28 at the break.
Cumberland will play host to seventh-ranked Campbellsville on Saturday at 2 p.m. before hitting the road next week for Mid-South contests at Bluefield and Pikeville.
“They’re one of the deepest teams in the country,” Lewis said of the Campbellsville Lady Tigers. “They’ve got speed, they’ve got athleticism, they’ve got length, they’ve got skill. They can play inside, they can play outside. They do a great job of mixing up their defenses.”