CMU Women Advance to Semifinals, Eliminate Culver-Stockton
FAYETTE, MO - No. 3-seed Central Methodist used 10 second-half points by Britney Joseph to defeat six-seed Culver-Stockton (Mo.) in Puckett Fieldhouse in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinals.
Thursday's matchup was the second between the two teams in four days. The Eagles (24-6) improve to 3-0 against the Wildcats (13-16) this season and advance to the Semifinals on Saturday, when they will travel to No. 2-seed Benedictine (Kan.). The Ravens, currently ranked 12th in NAIA Division I, are 2-0 against the Eagles in 2012-13.
Thursday's win was the first in the postseason for the Green and Black since the 1999-00 NAIA Division II National Tournament.
Central Methodist struggled early, starting the game 3-of-19 from the field and 0-of-6 from deep. With the outside shots not falling, the Eagles began to go inside to Taylor Cornelison. The freshman center scored four straight points before Joseph picked up a bucket in the paint. Their play began to open up the outside, and Raylyn Nuss drilled her second three Thursday to cut the deficit to 19-16.
Brooke Paulsell gave the Green and Black their first lead of the night, 28-27, after two free throws with eight seconds on the clock, but Lorrie Peters converted a layup as time expired to put the Wildcats up by one point at the break.
Sammie Gathercole drained a three 3:30 into the second half on the fastbreak to put the home team up 35-32. After taking two charges, Gathercole then scored in the paint on a feed from Kyra Williams to increase the Eagles' edge to 44-34 at the 14 minute mark.
Culver-Stockton responded with a 6-0 spurt before suffering its biggest blow at the 6:09 mark. Already down by eight, Mimi Reaves, the leading scorer in the league, fouled out of the contest. The Eagles quickly put together consecutive buckets to stretch their lead to 54-42 with a little over five minutes left in the game. Reaves was the Wildcats' leading scorer to that point with eight but was only 3-of-14 from the floor and 1-of-6 from behind the arc after going 1-of-9 overall in Monday night's loss.
Culver-Stockton tried to push the tempo in the comeback effort, but Nakia Robinson sealed the game after picking the ball from Randi Lee Plunkett, which turned into two points by Williams to make the difference double digits, 57-47, with 2:40 left.
Joseph led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting overall and a 4-of-5 performance from the charity stripe. She and Cornelison each had seven rebounds.
Towanda Sutton tallied 13 points for the Eagles in the win. Nuss and Gathercole added eight apiece. Paulsell ended with seven.
Robinson came up with six rebounds. Jasmine Poteete had five rebounds and a game-high five assists.
Daja DeHayward posted a team-leading 11 points for Culver-Stockton. She also had nine rebounds. Kati Davis came up with a double-double, tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds.