PIKEVILLE – Make it two wins over ranked opponents in a row for the 20th-ranked University of Pikeville women’s basketball team as it downed No. 18 Cumberland 73-70 on Saturday afternoon in the East Kentucky Expo Center.
The win comes just two days after topping No. 25 Lindsey Wilson at home and pushes the Bears’ record to a perfect 16-0 and 3-0 in the Mid-South Conference.
The Phoenix dropped to 11-5 overall and 2-3 in league play with the loss.
Aundrea Matchen led UPIKE with 22 points, followed by Devin Conley with 15 and Prisha Rogers joining them in double figures with a season-high 14. Matchen tallied a double-double with 10 rebounds, helping the Bears control the glass 44-40 overall.
Cumberland went ahead by as many as six points in the first half at 27-21 with the help of a 7-of-10 performance from behind the arc. The lead flip flopped from there with UPIKE going on a 9-0 run to go up by three, followed by the Phoenix using a 10-3 spurt to lead by four.
By half’s end, the Phoenix took just a 39-38 lead into the locker room, despite outshooting the Bears 44.4 to 37.8 percent from the field.
The script flipped in the second half with UPIKE getting to work on defense, limiting the Phoenix to 30 percent shooting, including hitting just 1 of 8 threes. The Bears may not have shot much better from the field, but held on for the win from the free-throw line, hitting 13 of 16 in the second half.
Free throws were needed more than ever when Kayla Day went to the stripe with a 71-70 lead and 28 seconds left to play. The senior calmly knocked down both shots, forcing Cumberland to look for a three in the closing seconds.
The Phoenix got looks as Jazmine Smith’s three was off the mark, then Bre Neal’s put back on the offensive rebound was off the mark as well. Cumberland still wound up with the ball after it deflected out of bounds off a Bear, but Chelsey Hall’s final attempt from three missed as well.
Credit Cumberland for sticking around after falling behind by 13 points late in the third quarter. A 12-4 run over the final seven minutes of the fourth put it in position to shoot for the tie, but the kind rims from the opening half were nowhere to be found.
Hall finished with a game-high 25 points, while Julia Fox chipped in with 19. Fox hit five 3-poiinters and Hall backed her up with three.
UPIKE ended up outshooting the Phoenix by a slim 37.9 to 36.7 percent margin, but hit four more free throws and turned the ball over two less times.