Women's Basketball Wins at TusculumFebruary 25, 2012
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. - Tyler Carlson's layup with 4.4 seconds left broke a 71-71 tie and gave Mars Hill College a 75-71 victory over Tusculum College in the South Atlantic Conference women's basketball regular-season finale for both teams Saturday afternoon at Pioneer Arena.
Armeka Booker scored 24 of her game-high 26 points in the second half for the Lions (13-14, 6-12 SAC), who erased a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat the Pioneers (17-9, 11-7 SAC) in the final game of the regular season for the second straight season.
Staci Hicks scored 18 points and shared the game high with six rebounds for the Pioneers, who grabbed the number-three seed in next week's Food Lion SAC Tournament and will host sixth-seeded Newberry Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. at Pioneer Arena.
Carlson, who finished with 18 points, converted the go-ahead hoop after April McCann had hit two free throws with just over 10 seconds left to knot the score at 71. Following her basket, Tusculum was called for a technical foul when it requested a timeout it did not have, and Carlson nailed both free throws to lock up the win for the Lions.
Booker, who made her only field goal attempt and played just five minutes in the first half, went 6-for-10 from the field and 12-for-14 at the line in 15 second-half minutes to singlehandedly spearhead the Lion comeback. Mars Hill was aided by 14 second-half turnovers by Tusculum which it converted into 15 points.
Hicks was one of four players to score in double figures for the Pioneers, joined by Linda Aughburns and Jama Hammontree who netted 13 points apiece and Alishia Mosley who added 10 points off the bench. After shooting just 28.2 percent (11-for-39) from the field in the first half, the Pioneers went 11-for-20 (55 percent) in the second half including 4-for-8 from three-point range.
Mars Hill was equally as sharp from the floor in the second half, hitting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) of their shots. The difference came from the foul line, where Tusculum's respectable 9-for-10 second-half performance was trumped by the Lions shooting 16-for-19 at the stripe. Overall, the Lions were 22-for-27 (81.5 percent) at the free-throw line while Tusculum was 20-for-22 (90.9 percent).
Other than a 17-17 tie with 11:27 left, the Pioneers led the entire first half and led 36-30 at halftime. A put back by Aughburns gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the half at 34-25 with 3:01 left. As a team, the Pioneers had a whopping 17 offensive rebounds in the first half, but could only turn them into seven second-chance points.
Hicks, Hammontree and Mosley shared the scoring lead in the first half for Tusculum with eight points apiece, while Carlson and Taylor Deal each tallied eight points to lead Mars Hill.
The Pioneers built their lead to 50-39 on consecutive three-pointers by Hammontree, Kendal Baxter and Aughburns, the latter coming with 14:49 left. A jumper by Mosley gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the game at 52-39 with 13:41 to go, but the Lions forced seven Tusculum turnovers during a 9-0 run that brought Mars Hill within 52-48 with 9:05 remaining.
Two free throws by Hicks with 3:28 left gave the Pioneers a 69-62 lead, but Booker scored the game's next nine points, the latter two on a layup with 1:21 left that gave the Lions their first lead of the game at 71-69. An offensive foul on Hicks gave the Lions the ball back with 1:04 to go. However, the Pioneers forced a turnover and McCann was fouled and hit two free throws with 10 seconds left, setting up Carlson's heroics.