FORT SMITH, Ark. (February 13, 2020) – Emma Middleton matched a career high in rebounds, but needed one more to complete a double-double, as her 18 points and nine rebounds led No.9 Lubbock Christian University to a 71-63 Lone Star Conference victory over Arkansas-Fort Smith Thursday night inside Stubblefield Center.
Middleton was 6-of-9 inside the arc in the contest, and was revved up early, posting 10 points in the opening quarter of play. Six of the points came in a 10-1 run in the opening 5:37 of the game, as UAFS missed their first six shot attempts. UAFS would hit five of their next seven attempts, but LCU ended the quarter with the final four points for a 20-13 lead.
LCU had their best defensive quarter in the second quarter, holding UAFS to 35.3% (6/17) from the field in the frame. It did not appear it was heading that direction to start the quarter as the Lady Lions opened the quarter on a 6-0 run over the opening 2:25 of the quarter to cut LCU’s lead to 20-19. Middleton ended the UAFS run with a deuce and Channing Cunyus followed with a three-pointer to help LCU respond on a 9-2 run for a 29-21 lead. LCU received 14 points in the opening half from Middleton and LCU led 35-27 at the half.
Even when not scoring, LCU was scoring. LCU had a 1-of-5 shooting stretch to start the third quarter (they did not miss more than two consecutive shots following the sequence) , but still outscored UAFS 4-2 in the opening four minutes of the half. Middleton had the first four points of the half and Madelyn Turner nailed a three-pointer to help LCU to a 7-0 run for a 42-29 lead with 5:49 left in the period. Maddi Chitsey provided LCU their biggest lead of the game (49-34) with a three-pointer as 4:26 remained in the quarter. LCU produced their second-lowest three-point total of the season (four in the game), but they hit three in the quarter, with Ashton Duncan closing the quarter with a triple for a 57-44 lead heading into the final frame.
The Lady Chaps shot 52.4% (11/21) in the second half and received seven points off 3-of-4 shooting from Caitlyn Cunyus in the fourth quarter to help hold off UAFS. The Lady Lions never cut LCU’s lead inside an eight-point margin and had their four-game win streak snapped.
Middleton was joined in double figures by Chitsey (14 points) and Caitlyn Cunyus (11 points). The Lady Chaps, who were 51.1% (23/45) from the field, also took advantage of 25 free-throw attempts by making 21 attempts. The Lady Chaps had not had more than 13 free-throw attempts in their last six games and the 21 points from the line matched their second-most in a game this season. Middleton (6-of-6) and Chitsey (6-of-5) were a combined 12-of-13 from the line, as LCU outscored UAFS 21-10 from the line (second-highest margin of the season).
Tamera Gulley did complete a double-double for UAFS with 14 rebounds and 11 points. Ashanti Eden led the Lady Lions with 19 points and Leiloni Culley contributed 15 points. UAFS fell to12-11 overall and 8-8 in LSC play.
LCU improved to 6-1 all-time against UAFS and the win marked LCU’s sixth straight series victory (13-1 overall). The Lady Chaps are 20-3 on the season and they improved their LSC record to 14-3 and moved into a share of second place with West Texas A&M, who fell to Tarleton State.
The Lady Lions attempted to rally in the fourth quarter, behind eight points in the quarter by Eden. She was 0-of-2 from long range prior to the quarter, but hit two treys in the final quarter. UAFS, who hit six of their last eight field goal attempts, had a 5-0 run to cut LCU’s lead to 67-58 (2:47 left), but Caitlyn Cunyus interrupted the run with a three-point play the hard way to put LCU’s lead back into double-figures. Eden followed with a three-pointer, but without Cunyus’ part, it could have cut LCU’s lead to a six-point lead.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
LCU shot at least 50% from the field for a fourth consecutive game, marking the first time since February of the 2015-16 season in which they have had a streak of consecutive games shooting 50% or better reach four games. On the flip side, LCU allowed the highest shooting performance (43.1% for UAFS) of the season for a second consecutive road game (won both game). LCU has only allowed 40% shooting or better in three games total this season.
The Lady Chaps head to Oklahoma City Saturday to face Oklahoma Christian inside Eagles’ Nest for a 2 p.m. tip-off.
Courtesy: Lubbock Christian Athletics