The Lady Cougars started quickly hitting the Lady Bucks with a 26-10 run to start the game. Robyn Anthony, Jara Gasper and Mercedes Owens all connected from three-point land in the early going as the visitors threatened to run away and hide. Chelsey Jones and Carly Fetzer added three tough buckets in the paint in the early going as well as a pair of steals and layups from Anthony.
The Lady Bucks suddenly came to life and sliced into the lead with a run of their own. Chelsey Wiseman scored eight points in the final three minutes of the half including a 3-pointer as the home team cut the lead to only seven points, 29-22 at halftime. Wiseman almost single handedly kept her team in the game with 13 of the Lady Bucks 22 points.
The Lady Cougars knocked down five more treys in the second half with each one coming at a crucial time. Back-to-back bombs from downtown by Me’Lisa Martinez helped the Lady Cougars take a 10-point lead midway through the second half. But, the Lady Bucks just would not go away and continued to chip at the lead.
Motlow State got within a point of pulling off the upset cutting the lead to a single point at 54-53 at the 1:04 mark. But, the Lady Cougars were equal to the challenge stepping to the Charity stripe and hitting 6-of-8 free tosses in the final minute to hang on and secure the Region VII win. The Lady Cougars hit only 15 of their 24 free throws in the game, but were 11 of 13 in the second half while the Lady Bucks hit only 15 of 28.
“We played in spurts today,” stated Lady Cougars coach Dan Lumpkin. “Give Motlow credit, they are a scrappy team, but we have to be more consistent and put teams away when we have the chance. We did knock down some big free throws when we had to and any time you can get a win on the road in this conference it is a good thing.”
Gasper paced the Lady Cougars (13-7, 6-5) with 16 points, Anthony finished with 14 and Jones added eight. Wiseman finished with 21 points to lead the Lady Bucks while Erica Ervin and Presley Owen added 11 and 10 respectively.
The Bucks set the tone from the opening tip executing an alley-oop slam dunk on the first shot of the game to bring the homecoming crowd to its feet. Kerrell Davis fed Chris Hawkins for the rim-rattler. JC Bonny helped the home team extend its lead to 10 points midway through the half. From there the Cougars came to life and hit their hosts with an 11-0 run to take a 22-21 lead as Kahan Swift and Ralph Eason nailed a three ball each.
The lead changed hands 10 times the rest of the half in the see-saw affair. Hawkins added another slam for the Bucks, but Filipe Goncalves hit a shot from downtown for the Cougars to tie the game at 40-all at the break.
The Cougars traded baskets with the much taller Bucks for several minutes to open the second half, but the Bucks took contol of the game with a 19-3 run. With the game tied at 50, DJ Jones entered the zone as the point guard began to rain down 3-pointers on the Cougars from seemingly all points on the floor. When the dust had settled, Jones had hit five shots from three-point land in a six minute span including one that turned into a four-point play as the Motlow lead ballooned to 69-53.
Eason hit a trifecta of 3s and converted a four-point play of his own as the Cougars cut the lead back to 10 points. Trey Suttles added several shots in the paint, but it wouldn’t be nearly enough as Bucks hit 9-of-12 free tosses down the stretch to secure the win.
Suttles led the Cougars (11-7, 6-5) with 22 points while Eason added 21. Jones paced the Bucks with 26 points while Hawkins added 14.