published Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Lady Cougars nip Lady Tigers in OT

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- War was renewed Saturday afternoon in the L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium at Cleveland State, and this time the other side won.

As had happened on Dec. 11 at Chattanooga State, the home team won in overtime in the TCCAA women's basketball showdown. Behind 26 points and 12 rebounds from Kierra Johnson, Cleveland State's nationally 20th-ranked Lady Cougars won 69-65 over the No. 24 Lady Tigers, who got 23 points from April Woodard but only two after halftime.

After the Lady Cougars improved to 19-1, 12-1 in the TCCAA, the Cleveland State men almost pulled off an upset, falling 102-101.

Keith Johnson had 35 points with 7-of-11 3-point shooting for the Cougars (10-11, 3-10), and Philip Jenkins scored 28 points. Michael Robertson had 27 points and 13 rebounds for Chattanooga State (17-4, 9-4), and Abdur-Rahim Cooper scored 22 points.

As in the Lady Cougars' December loss, they spent much of Saturday's game clawing back from deficits. They trailed 13-5 and 25-14 before tying the score, only to fall behind by five going into halftime.

Five points was Chatt State's biggest margin of the second half, and the Lady Cougars took their first lead with 10:13 left in regulation on Mariah Lawrence's three-point play off a fastbreak. A Cassie Yeargen 3 gave them a 42-38, lead, but the Lady Tigers immediately shot back ahead, only to be caught at 55 on a nifty drive by little Takeya Day.

Free throws by Cash Champion and Day put Cleveland State up 59-57, but Chasity Welch's short runner at the horn forced overtime. Sixty-five seconds into the extra period, Johnson put the Lady Cougars ahead to stay.

The Lady Cougars shot only 37.9 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers, but the Lady Tigers shot 36.4 percent and lost the ball 26 times.

"We went to the basket and got to the line more than we did down there, and we did a better job rebounding," Lady Cougars coach Dan Lumpkin said. "And Mariah did a great job defensively on April in the second half."

Johnson and Day had four and three steals, and Woodard and Kim Manning had four apiece in defeat.

"We came in and we battled," Chattanooga State coach Jay Price said. "Some things just didn't go our way down the stretch. In the overtime we missed a couple of shots we could've made and had a couple of mistakes in transition, but Cleveland State played hard, too, and they're a good team."

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