The nationally 24th-ranked Cougars saw their eight game winning streak come to an end as they tasted defeat for the first time this season, falling 67-62. The Lady Cougars had won four in a row but also lost their game, by a final score of 63-57.
“We were a little rusty after not playing in a week,” said Cougar coach Lee Cigliano. “That, combined with a good Snead team and a different style of play, forced us to play at their pace. We struggled at times and didn’t do a lot of the little things that we needed to do to win the game.”
Ralph Eason and Trey Suttles led a late first half surge for the Cougars as they played catchup for much of the first 20 minutes. The Parsons had the hot hand early, taking as much as a nine point lead. Eason poured in 12 points and Suttles scored eight tough points in the paint in the half while Eason erased the deficit and gave the Cougars the lead at the break, 33-31, with a bucket at the buzzer.
The Cougars held a nine point lead with five minutes to play in the second half, but Demarrus Robinson hit a trifecta of 3’s in the second half after knocking down 14 first half points, to keep his team in the hunt and lead a comeback. Cleveland State could not hold off the hard-charging Parsons down the stretch despite 10 more points in the paint from Suttles as they fell for the first time this season.
Eason finished with 22 points to pace the Cougars (8-1) while Suttles added 18. Robinson led all scorers for the Parsons with 30 points while Brandon Graham had 15.
“We didn’t do a very good job of guarding their best player, Robinson,” the coach continued. “Snead is a tough place to play you have to give them credit, their style gave us problems all night long. We felt pretty good with the lead late in the game, but you have to close out games and we didn’t. Hopefully we can learn some things and get ready for two big conference games this weekend.”
LADY PARSONS 63,
LADY COUGARS 57
Me’Lisa Martinez and Robyn Anthony knocked down eight points each for Cleveland State in the first half, but couldn’t do a lot with the inside game of the Lady Parsons, especially Summer Starr who had 10 points in the paint to help her team hold a 34-31 halftime advantage.
The Lady Cougars stayed within striking distance the entire second half, but couldn’t quite get over the hump as Starr continued her assault on the basket with eight more points. Bria Dupree tossed in all six of her points in the first half including a 3-pointer. Ciera Anderson had nine of her 11 points in the second half while Hannah Brown scored all eight of her points as well in the final 20 minutes.
The Lady Cougars were again cold from the free-throw line hitting only 9-of-19 for the game and going 4-of-13 in the second half. Snead State hit 18-of-25 in the contest. Anderson and Anthony paced the Lady Cougars (5-4) with 11 points apiece while Starr led the Lady Parsons with 18 points.
Cleveland State will now get ready for four big Region VII Conference games this weekend as Volunteer State rolls into town on Friday at 6 and Motlow State will follow on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.
All four games can be watched live via the Cougar Sports Network by going to the Cleveland State website and following the links.