GREENEVILLE, Tenn. — The Carson-Newman women's basketball team erased a 15-point second-half deficit to take the lead on Wednesday night against Tusculum, but it wasn't enough as the Pioneers held on for a 77-73 victory at Pioneer Arena.
The Lady Eagles trailed 59-44 with 12:27 left before senior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) took over to lead C-N back into the game. Mendenhall scored 16 of her 18 points on the night during a 27-13 run that gave the Lady Eagles a 72-71 advantage at the 3:11 mark.
After two ties, Tusculum senior center Catherine Hintz (Hastings, Minn.) made a layup with 51 seconds left to give the Pioneers the lead for good at 75-73.
With the loss, the Lady Eagles fall to 10-13 overall and 6-7 in the conference. Tusculum improves to 15-6 on the season and 11-2 in SAC play.
C-N shot 42.2 percent (27-of-64) on the night, while Tusculum scored at a 46.3 percent clip (31-of-67). The Pioneers held a 40-39 edge on the boards. Both teams committed 18 turnovers, but Tusculum scored 28 points off of C-N's miscues.
Junior forward Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.) fired in 21 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to pace the Lady Eagles, while freshman Shannon Depew (Newport, Tenn.) finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Whitney Moody (Blountville, Tenn.) chipped in 11 points in the loss.
Senior guard Jasmine Gunn (Nashville, Tenn.) tossed in 21 points, dished out 10 assists and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Pioneers. Hintz finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Kendal Baxter (Sevierville, Tenn.) also had 16 points.
Tusculum jumped out to a 9-2 lead, but the Lady Eagles answered with an 8-2 run behind a pair of 3-pointers by Depew to pull to within 11-10 with 12:38 remaining in the first half.
C-N eventually tied the game at 14-14 on a fastbreak layup by Amber Blackwell (Duluth, Ga.).
The teams played to a 27-27 tie with 3:02 left before the Pioneers closed out the half with a 14-2 run capped off by a Catherine Hintz layup with two seconds remaining to give Tusculum a 41-29 lead at the half.
The Pioneers pushed their lead to 59-44 at the 12:27 mark of the second half on a jumper by Baxter, but the Lady Eagles began to chip away as they went on a 27-13 run behind 16 points from Mendenhall, whose driving jumper with 3:11 left gave C-N a 72-71 lead.
However, after two ties, Hintz's layup with 51 seconds left gave Tusculum the lead for good. Gunn then sank a pair of free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The Lady Eagles return to the hardwood at home on Saturday against Lenoir-Rhyne. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. at Holt Fieldhouse. The contest is designated as C-N's annual WBCA Pink Zone© game in support of breast cancer awareness.