Late-game heroics help women’s basketball end skid, Cumberland’s perfect season

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JACKSON, Tenn. -- Down 11 in the fourth quarter and facing a third-consecutive loss, the John Brown University women's basketball team responded by finishing the contest on a 15-4 rally and turned what was another winnable contest into a heroic come-from-behind 66-64 win over No. 23 Cumberland (Tenn.) on Saturday (Nov. 26) morning inside the historic Oman Arena.

Senior Kodee Powell took the game into her own hands on JBU's last possession, launching a 23-foot triple that found nothing but net. The Phoenix (8-1) responded with a last-second triple that didn't have a strong chance to fall, as John Brown (6-3) not only picked up its second ranked upset of the season, but handed Cumberland its first setback of the season.

Mired in 18 turnovers and a Phoenix squad that converted nine offensive rebounds into 10 second-chance points, the Golden Eagles responded with its strongest assets, hitting 11-of-19 from behind the arc (57.9 percent) and 13-of-14 (92.9 percent) at the charity stripe.

"I'm very proud of the girls and the way we hung in there and fought back," said head coach Jeff Soderquist. "A lot of players stepped up and played well. Kodee (Powell) looked like a senior out there and nailed the shot we needed."

Powell's game-winning triple completed a team-best 18 points on 4-of-8 shooting from long range, as she contributed three assists and shot a perfect 4-of-4 from the line. Sophomore Baily Cameron quietly, but efficiently, hit 5-of-9 from the field, including three triples, to finish with 17 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Preslea Reece added 12 points and a team-best six rebounds.

John Brown led by as many as five late in the second quarter, but it was Cumberland's 11-point cushion, 60-49, with 8:36 left in the contest that required the most dramatics. After the teams traded field goals, JBU got to work. Powell hit a pair at the line and Cameron hit back-to-back shots in the post to quickly whittle the CU lead to five, 62-57. Junior Kimmy Deines split a pair at the line and Cameron hit a triple from the top of the arc, bringing the Golden Eagles all the way to within one, 62-61, with just over two remaining.

Cumberland broke its five-minute-plus drought with a field goal from Julia Fox in the paint, but it was junior Jana Schammel's steal after a Cameron miss that kept JBU alive.

After the steal, the Phoenix were charged a technical for arguing with the officials, and Cameron converted both as JBU retained possession. Although the Golden Eagles came up empty, another defensive stop with 43 seconds left offered John Brown another chance at completing the comeback.

It was on that possession that Powell used a screen and stepped back for the game-winning shot.

Nicole Bowers scored a game-high 21 points and nearly finished with the double-double, posting nine rebounds for Cumberland. Julia Fox contributed 19 points while Terra Pryor added 10 off the bench in the loss.

Both teams shot an identical 44 percent from the field, but Cumberland missed 16 of its 24 triples attempted and misfired on three key free throws.

JBU will now face its third-consecutive ranked opponent when it returns to action on Thursday (Dec. 1) in a matchup with No. 19 Oklahoma City. The squads tip off at 6 p.m. inside Bill George Arena.

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