After taking a pair of big wins in Memphis from Southwest Tennessee on Friday night at the bottom of the state, the Cougars moved to the most northern point of the state on Saturday. The Lady Cougars took care of business, avenging another early season loss to Dyersburg with a 68-47 win while the Cougars handed the Eagles an 80-69 loss.
"You couldn't ask for much more after you get two wins on your toughest road trip of the season," explained Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. "We got positive contributions from everyone and that is what we've been looking for all year long ... consistency for 40 minutes, and we got it this weekend."
The Lady Cougars picked right up where they had left off on Friday night as they dominated the Lady Eagles from start to finish.
After racing out to a 38-19 halftime lead, the Lady Cougars had to weather the storm in the second half as the Lady Eagles made several runs. The home team caused some problems with its full-court press in the second half, but the Lady Cougars were equal to the task as they cruised to the big conference victory.
Carly Fetzer dominated the paint on both ends of the court for the Lady Cougars (16-9, 9-7) pouring in 17 points and neutralizing the big inside game of the Lady Eagles. Jara Gasper had her usual day at the office with 15 points while Hannah Brown and Robyn Anthony added 11 points apiece. Me'Lisa Martinez didn't score, but was a key factor in the Lady Cougar surge with eight assists and nine rebounds. Kelsey Nowlin led Dyersburg with 11 points.
"Carly was a big factor, she played like we knew she could all along," stated Lumpkin. "Everyone did a good job, but Me'Lisa Martinez had an outstanding game and didn't score a point, but she was a key spark off the bench for us. This puts us in good shape as far is seeding is concerned for the upcoming tournament."
The Cougars didn't have it as easy as their female counterparts as they struggled from the field in the first half. With only eight players dressed, the second day of the back-to-back road trip seemed to take its toll as the Eagles soared to a 32-30 halftime lead.
"We struggled in the first half; we didn't quite have the energy that we had at Southwest the night before. We just couldn't get the shots to fall," said Cougar coach Lee Cigliano. "I believe the guys were upset with themselves and found a second wind and stepped it up in the second half. Travis had several nice driving layups, Trey got us some big buckets in the paint, Ralph had some key steals and Xavier gave us a big lift off the bench. Really everybody contributed to the win, Dantario kept us in it in the first half with four 3’s. It was just a great effort all the way around."
The Cougars quickly regained the lead in the second half and maintained it the rest of the way, although the game was still relatively close until the closing minutes. A 20-2 run finally put the game on ice as the Cougars found a way to finish strong and complete the big weekend conference sweep.
Trey Suttles paced the Cougars with 20 points, Dantario Dansby and Ralph Eason finished with 18 points each while Travis Jones finished with 14. Caleb Woods led the Eagles with 14 points while Marty Wilkerson added 13.
Cleveland State will finish the regular season with a big weekend series as it hosts Columbia State on Friday and Jackson State on Saturday afternoon. All four games can be seen live via the Cougar Sports Network by going the school website and following the links.