GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Tusculum Pioneers outlasted Newberry on Saturday afternoon with a final score of 72-65.
The Wolves opened the game up with the lead on a jumper from Shelby Britten. Through a series of ties, Tusculum finally pulled away at the two-minute mark in the first period. A combination of free throws and a layup sealed the Wolves off at the end of the first.
Newberry battled back in the second period to edged Tusculum out by one point. The Wolves closed the period on a four-point run ignited by a Meg Essex layup and crucial free throws by Kelsey McDermott, to tighten the 32-28 Pioneer leading gap. Overall Newberry stayed close in the first half only allowing an eight-point lead, the largest of the contest at that time.
Coming out of the half, Newberry opened with two critical possessions where Essex connected on a layup and jump shot to tie the game at 32-32. Tusculum answered back immediately with a layup of their own, but Newberry would strike up a six-point run to span almost two minutes. This run would give them control of the game for the first time since the opening minute of the first period.
The Pioneers ended the third with only a two-point cushion, but would see a dominate performance come in the fourth. Tusculum’s largest lead of the game came at the 1:32 mark of the fourth period as their lead surged to nine points on made free throws. Turnovers plagued Newberry in this matchup, but the Wolves stayed within shouting distance of the Pioneers.
Newberry tallied a total of 23 turnovers which led to 27 Tusculum points off of those miscues. The Pioneers nabbed three with 17 points; Mia Long, the reigning AstroTurf South Atlantic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, Kasey Johnson and Kendrea Duke.
The Wolves took the loss in this contest, but shot a higher percentage than the Pioneers from the floor and behind the arc. Tusculum went 21-for-53 from the field (39.6%) and 3-for-14 from three (21.4%). Conversely, Newberry shot 56.1% from the field going 23-for-41 and made four of their nine three-pointers for 44.4%.
This is Newberry’s second game with 20 assists with McDermott dishing out nine of those to set a new career high. The Wolves pulled down three more boards to outrebound the Pioneers 30-to-27. Essex saw her fourth game with 11 total rebounds as she notched her seventh double-double of the season. She posted 20 points, an assist, a block, while going 10-for-14 from the field over 33 minutes. Britten had her fifth twenty-plus-point performance as she tallied 22 points, a steal, and two assists.
The Wolves will face Catawba at home in Eleazer Arena on Wednesday, Jan. 17 with tipoff of the doubleheader slated for 6:00 p.m.