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Second Half Letdown Costs B-CU in 58-39 Loss to SCSU

Courtesy:           Release: 01/19/2013

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ORANGEBURG, S.C. - After a strong defensive performance led the Lady Wildcats to a five-point halftime lead, Bethune-Cookman (7-9, 2-2 MEAC) was outscored nearly three-to-one in the second half by South Carolina State (11-5, 3-2 MEAC), falling to the Lady Bulldogs 58-39 Saturday night at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.

"In the first half, we were very in-tune with what we had to do from a defensive standpoint," Head Coach Vanessa Blair said. "In the second half, we came out flat. We weren't able to connect on layups and free throws, and the game got away from us."

Though South Carolina State put the first points on the board, B-CU used its inside game to claim a lead and play through the fast and physical early game, but five turnovers in the first five minutes made it impossible for the Lady Wildcats to separate, and opened the door for an 8-0 SCSU burst on the strength of a pair of threes from SCSU's Mykala Jones.

B-CU was quick to respond, with three consecutive scoring possessions easing the blow, before Chastity René Taylor hit the Lady Wildcats' first three with 3:49 to go , followed shortly by a breakaway steal for a Jasmine Evans fast-break layup to secure the four-point lead. The Lady Wildcats finished the half on a 12-2 run, with just one SCSU score in the final six minutes of the half, and carrying a 25-20 lead into the locker room.

Averaging 15.3 points per game, SCSU leading scorer Tiara Knotts had zero points at the break.

Second half scoring started at a snail's pace for both teams, but following a Terrenisha Hollis technical foul with 17:35 to go, the momentum quickly shifted in favor of the Lady Bulldogs, starting with an 8-0 SCSU run, capped by a Brittany Cochran three to reclaim the lead.

The game remained at a one-possession margin, thanks to back-to-back threes from Taylor and Jasmine Evans, but the Lady Bulldogs turned the tables on B-CU, outscoring the Lady Wildcats 15-2 in the final seven minutes of action en route to the 58-39 comeback win; a season-low scoring output for Bethune-Cookman.

"We didn't take advantage of our opportunities offensively," Blair said. "From a defensive standpoint, we weren't staying with our assignments; we were fouling way too much and put them on the line 21 times. We missed a lot of defensive assignments and gave up layups on that end."

Jasmine Evans led the Lady Wildcats with 10 points, followed by Taylor with eight. Taylor also grabbed a career-high six rebounds.

Big difference-makers in the outcome were the seven blocks and 13 steals suffered at the hands of the Lady Bulldogs, along with 15 second-half turnovers, and shooting just 4-of-11 from the free throw line.

The Lady Wildcats head out tonight for the other half of this road trip, facing Savannah State (6-12, 1-4 MEAC) on Monday with a 4 p.m. tip at Tiger Arena. Savannah State lost Saturday afternoon to Florida A&M 59-49 in Savannah.

For all the latest information on the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, follow the official Twitter feed, @BCUathletics, or "Like Us" on Facebook at Bethune-Cookman Athletics.

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