The Lady Cougars started the game with a 12-2 run and never trailed. Jessica Harper hit the floor running, scoring the first six points for the home team on a trio of driving layups. Brittany Ramsey took over from there with a pair of left-handed scoops to the hoop as the lead grew to double digits.
Long-range bombs from Hannah Brown midway through the half, Shanavian Woodland and another from Harper with less than a minute to play helped the Lady Cougars to a 10-point advantage at the break, 32-22. The Lady Cougars held Emmanuel to only 25 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes of play while causing 16 turnovers and taking 11 steals.
The Lady Eagles found the mark to start the second half, knocking down six straight points before order could be restored by Cleveland State. Labreshia Blackwell hit a pair of short jumpers in the paint and Precious Lane added three layups as the visitors sliced into the lead, cutting it to only four points on three different occasions.
Emmanuel tied the game with just under 10 minutes to play when Tashia Byrd notched an offensive rebound. But, Cleveland State responded with a 13-4 run to right the ship. Ramsey canned back-to-back treys from the corner while Brown chipped in with one of her own to push the lead back to double digits at 63-53.
The Lady Cougars would not be denied on this night and finished as strong as they had started, cruising to the 12-point win. Ramsey nailed 3-of-4 free tosses down the stretch and led all scorers for Cleveland State (4-6) with 25 points. She added 10 rebounds and four steals while Harper finished with 18 points. Blackwell and Lane paced Emmanuel with 10 and nine points respectively.
“It was good to get a win, we needed it badly,” explained Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. “We started well, but we let up to start the second half and let them back in it. We can’t do that and expect to win. Emmanuel is a very athletic team and they shot the ball well tonight. We’ve got so many girls on crutches, we’ve got to have someone step up and score for us, and Brittany did that tonight. She can shoot the ball and we did a good job of getting her the ball tonight.”
Both Cleveland State teams will travel to Middle Tennessee this weekend for a pair of key conference matchups, on Friday at Volunteer State and Saturday at Motlow State. The Saturday contest can be watched live over the Cougar Sports Network Webcast by going to the Cleveland State website and clicking on watch live starting at 2 p.m. Eastern time.