It was prime time for the St. Catharine Patriots to drop out of the undefeated ranks Tuesday when they hosted Cumberland University. Lena Bramblett’s bunch had just recorded a 113-78 win over # 12 Olivet Nazarene the night before in a hard fought contest.
But the Patriots battled through fatigue and the emotions from the previous night to claim a 65-57 win over the Bulldogs. That came despite just 39 percent shooting and a 39-30 deficit in the rebounding category.
“Our biggest strength with this team is the ability to find a way to win,” said Bramblett. “We have kids who just hate to lose and they do whatever it takes to get the win.”
It didn’t appear that the Patriots, now 6-0, would have much trouble finding a way to win Tuesday when they extended a 27-24 halftime lead into a 42-27 advantage with 15 minutes to play. But Cumberland, 1-4, embarked on a 19-4 run that gave them a 46-45 lead with 7:06 to play. But that was the last lead the Bulldogs would enjoy as Janae Howard made two free throws with 6:53 remaining to put St. Catharine ahead 47-46. From there they gradually built the lead back to as many as 10 points.
“That is a big win for us after such a physically demanding game the night before,” said Bramblett. “It was but will take it.”
Howard led all scorers with 21 points, aided by an 11-12 performance at the foul line. She also had a team high nine rebounds. Kasei Evans added 18 points in the winning effort.
Cumberland shot just 33 percent (17-52) from the field including 2-13 from three point range. They committed 25 turnovers while the Patriot shad 19 floor errors.
The Patriots are home again Saturday at 2:00 against West Virginia Tech. They open Mid-South Conference play Monday against the University of Rio Grande.