Despite three players scoring in the double digits, Cumberland's women came out slow offensively and were never able to catch back up, losing to visiting Martin Methodist in Dallas Floyd Phoenix Arena/Cliff Ellis Court 75-59.
Cumberland (4-4) had its three-game winning streak snapped even though the Phoenix and Martin Methodist (6-2) shot the same percentage from the floor on the night (42.9). But CU was greatly outdone from three-point range where the RedHawks hit six to Cumberland's two, the charity stripe (15-9) and rebounds (43-28).
Britany Miller was just one board short of her fourth-straight double-double, tying for the Cumberland lead with 11 points, leading the team with nine rebounds and contributing another two blocks. Kerrice Watson posted 11 points and freshman Gracie Johnson chipped in 10 points of her own.
All five of the Martin Methodist starters scored in the double digits. Brooklyn Blanchard topped all scorers with 16 points, and her fellow guard Faith Sherrow scored 13 behind a barrage of three pointers. Maria Zimdars earned a double-double at 12 points and 13 boards, while Lacey Reed and Erin Freeman rounded out the top scorers with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Martin Methodist struck first in the game off a three-pointer, but Cumberland quickly responded Johnson connecting with Watson for a layup on a backdoor pass, 3-2. The Phoenix pulled within three at 10-6 after Miller snaked her way into the lane and got the shot up. Martin Methodist hit a shot with 38 seconds remaining in the quarter to exit the first with a 16-9 advantage.
Neither team could buy a bucket to start the second quarter, the first shot being made by the RedHawks just inside of the seven-minute mark of the 10-minute second. MacKenzie Trouten finally got the Phoenix on the board in the second when there was 3:22 left in the half, drawing a foul on the layup for the old school three-point play, 25-12. Abby Morgan fed the ball to Bree Thibeault as she raced to the basket for an easy layup, going into halftime trailing 34-17.
Cumberland's offense came alive in the third, making a push to get back into the game. Miller hit back-to-back buckets down low to start the third, trailing Martin Methodist 39-21. With 5:45 remaining in the third, Miller grabbed an offensive rebound before powering her way back up for the shot and an "and-one" opportunity which she converted to cut lead to 43-28. The lead dropped to 12, 45-33, after Watson passed the ball to Friendship Christian-graduate Ashlyn Pittman for a shot from the key. Inside of the final minute of the third, Johnson hit the deck but hit her shot, completing a three-point play as Martin Methodist lead dwindled to 51-41.
Cumberland pulled to 54-43 early in the fourth after Watson hit a reverse layup while running the baseline. With 7:24 remaining Devon Burns provided the first three-pointer of the game for the Phoenix from the left wing. Watson hit one from deep as well to put Cumberland within 13, 63-50 with 5:39 left in the game. Morgan cut into the lane, hitting a layup as the Phoenix cut Martin Methodist's lead to less than 10 for the first time since early in the second at 63-54.
The Phoenix will be on the road until January. In the meantime, Cumberland will tip off Mid-South Conference play with the next game taking place in Portsmouth, Ohio, against No. 11 Shawnee State next Thursday at 5 p.m. CST.