The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women's Basketball team faced their biggest challenge all season as they headed north to face the #2 team in the nation, the Shawnee State Bears, only to be followed two days later with a battle against the Red Storm of Rio Grande.
While the Patriot ladies put up a valiant effort on Thursday night, they fell to the Shawnee State Bears 61-56. However, the Patriots refused to throw in the towel and let up, stifling the Red Storm on Saturday with a 77-46 victory. Finishing 1-1 on the first week of Mid-South Conference (MSC) play, the Patriots move to a 5-1 overall record on the season.
The Patriot ladies came in firing on all cylinders on Thursday night, knocking down open jumpers while putting intense ball pressure on the guards of Shawnee State. After taking a safe first-half lead over the Bears 33-29, the Patriots looked to be in control of their own destiny. However, Shawnee State's home crowd came out rowdy in the second half, pushing their Bears to take over emotionally and physically, finishing off the Patriots in the end 61-56.
Although the Patriots were defeated, there were multiple bright spots in the close loss. Junior Jessica Upchurch (Stanford, KY) had a career night with a high of 24 points along with 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and a stellar defensive effort shutting down Shawnee State sharp shooter Alannah Sheets. Dace Bicane (Riga, Latvia) also chipped in a strong double-double scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The Patriot ladies also out-rebounded the Bears 39-34, while exhibiting a never-back-down attitude that continued over to Saturday against the Red Storm.
On Saturday, the Patriots looked to bounce back from a tough loss against Shawnee State, crushing Rio Grande 77-46. Cumberlands took care of business all over the floor that afternoon, out-rebounding the Storm 54-23 while shooting 49% from the field and a season high 66% from behind the arc. The Patriot ladies finished the night shooting 81% as a team from the free throw stripe and dishing out 12 team assists. Junior transfer Jill Herman (Powell, TN) led all scorers with 19 points with fellow junior Jackie Alexander (Brodhead, KY) following close behind with 16. Jessica Upchurch had another strong performance for the week adding 12 points of her own while Vernisha Moss (Nassau, Bahamas) recorded 11 points and 6 rebounds. While the Patriots exhibited a balanced attack scoring wise, the glass on both ends of the floor was dominated by Dace Bicane of the Patriots, ripping down a career high 16 rebounds, 11 on the defensive side.
With an overall record of 5-1 and 1-1 during MSC play, the Patriot ladies look to improve their win column with an MSC home opener against Cumberland University on Tuesday, November 20th at 6:00 PM.
For more information on the Patriot's women's basketball team as well as other Patriot athletics, visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article provided by Stephanie Quattrociocchi, University of the Cumberlands Multimedia & Athletic Services Graduate Assistant.