In Thursday’s contest against visiting University of the Cumberlands, the Patriot women didn’t have the lead for the first 24 minutes of the game. But when Heather Sandlin hit a driving layup with 16 minutes remaining, St. Catharine took a 40-39 lead and never trailed again in posting a 74-67 Mid-South Conference win.
Not that the win came easy after that. Cumberlands whittled a six point deficit down to one (63-62) with three minutes left. But the Patriots scored the game’s next seven points to gain their biggest lead of the game at eight points with 49 seconds left.
The victory allowed the Patriots (14-6, 8-5) to move into a fourth place tie with Shawnee State in the MSC. But there will be no rest for Lena Bramblett’s squad as they now prepare for Saturday’s game (2:00) against conference leader Cumberland University. The Bulldogs will bring a 21-1 record and a national ranking of sixth into the contest. The lone Cumberland setback was a 57-55 loss to St. Catharine on January 3rd.
Reilly Poirier led three Patriots in double figures with 24 points. Janae Howard had 20 and Machera Calhoun tossed in 11. Howard and Poirier, with nine and eight rebounds respectively, helped the Patriots to a 41-32 rebounding advantage.
Cumberlands actually had one more field goal than the Patriots as they were 23-59 from the field for 39 percent. St. Catharine was 22-53 (41.5 percent) from the field but hit 27 of 34 free throws (79 percent) while Cumberlands (13-9, 6-7) was 18-24 (75 percent) from the charity stripe.