Thirteenth-ranked Cumberland shot just 36 percent from the field and committed eight second half turnovers while Jenna Adams scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for No. 14 Tennessee Wesleyan in a 53-48 TWC victory Saturday here at the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs (9-6) struggled from the field for the second straight contest, hitting 1-of-9 from behind the arc and even more important, just 5-for-12 at the foul line, including 3-of-8 in the second half. CU hung in the contest thanks to poor shooting from Wesleyan (15-1), who finished at 38 percent, but TWC got 11 second-chance points on eight offensive boards.
Cumberland led by a point at the half and trailed by three with 11:00 to play before an 11-4 spurt by Wesleyan gave the visitors a 49-39 advantage with 5:17 remaining.
Adams hit her third and final 3-pointer of the game from the corner to start the run and Armeka Booker made two foul shots before a midrange jumper by Melanie Barker. Adams made a baseline jumper and then had a putback to finish the stretch, but CU battled back in the closing minutes.
Jalita Fason, who scored 12 points for the second straight game, made a jumper and Chelsey Hall hit 1-of-2 free throws and then a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:50 to play, cutting the deficit to six. TWC committed three turnovers in the final four minutes, opening the door for Cumberland, but the home team wasn’t quite able to take advantage.
Terra Pryor made 1-of-2 foul shots with 1:20 remaining before a driving layup by Hall cut the Wesleyan lead to three with 42 seconds left. The Bulldogs needed a stop and got one after Barker missed a long jumper, but TWC’s Shira Buley got the rebound and Adams was fouled shortly thereafter, hitting both ends of the 1-and-1 to seal the win for Weslayan.
Hall finished with 17 points but was just 1-for-6 from 3-point range while Brittany Lawson grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and finished with six points.
Cumberland struggled offensively for most of the first half, hitting just 4-of-21 shots in the first 11-plus minutes, but TWC wasn’t much better, going only 3-for-15 during the same stretch. The visitors led 9-6 before a quick 6-0 run by the Bulldogs, which included two field goals from Fason and two free throws by Tamera Giles.
A 3-pointer from the corner by Adams tied the game and another from near the top of the key banked in for the Wesleyan senior. Booker’s fast-break layup, with the big girl beating everyone down the floor, put TWC ahead, 17-14, forcing a CU timeout.
Cumberland responded with a driving layup from Pryor and another midrange jumper by Faston. Kaitlin Oliver’s bucket in traffic cut the deficit to one before a 15-footer from Lawson, which also banked in, gave the Bulldogs a one-point edge.
Booker’s putback and a layup from Adams put Wesleyan back ahead, but Hall made a baseline layup and then an 18-footer in the final 40 seconds for a 26-25 CU advantage at intermission.
Fason paced the Bulldogs with eight points and Lawson grabbed seven rebounds, with CU winning the battle of the boards in the opening period after being outrebounded by Martin Methodist, 53-30, in Tuesday’s loss.
Adams posted eight points and six caroms for Wesleyan in the opening stanza and Booker added eight points as well.
Cumberland gets back into Mid-South Conference action again next week, traveling to the University of the Cumberlands on Thursday for a 5 p.m. Central Time contest. CU also played at the University of Pikeville next Saturday at 1 p.m. Central Time.