HARROGATE, TN -- The Lady Railsplitters rallied from a three-point halftime deficit and surged in the second half to upend the Tusculum College Pioneers, 72-64, in South Atlantic Conference women's basketball action on Wednesday evening at Tex Turner Arena. With the win, Lincoln Memorial University (10-9, 3-6 SAC) won their second-consecutive contest in league play while the Pioneers dropped their second straight, falling to 10-7 on the season and 4-5 in SAC play with the loss.
The Lady Railsplitters were led by the back court duo of Kalasia Green and Kelsey Bradford, as the pair combined for 42 of Lincoln Memorial's 72 points in the win over the Pioneers. Bradford (Metropolis, Illinois) headlined that combination with a game-high 22 points, backed by a 16-22 clip at the charity stripe. She also dished out three assists and swiped three steals. Green (Laveen, Arizona) got in on the act with 20 points marked by 8-13 shooting from the field. She filled out her stat ledger with four assists, five steals and three rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Ralissa Nelson (Janesville, Wisconsin) contributed eight points, and MaRanda Boddie (Springfield, Illinois) compiled six points and six rebounds despite only playing 20 minutes due to early foul trouble. Kortnay Cox and Elliotte Roberts notched five points apiece to highlight the bench scoring output for the Lady Railsplitters which contributed 14 points. Mariah Richardson (Lawrenceville, Georgia) led the Lady Railsplitters to a 40-35 advantage on the glass by matching a game-high figure with eight boards.
Tusculum put four players in double-figures in the contest, paced by Ashley Thurman's 13-point, eight-rebound effort. Kendal Baxter tallied 12 points in the game but was limited to a 3-11 effort from the field. Breaira Barksdale and Nequoiah Anderson finished with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Lady Railsplitters were out-shot by the slimmest of margins in the game, as the Pioneers capped the evening with a 40.7% (24-59) clip while Lincoln Memorial went 21-52 (40.4%) on the night. However, the Lady Railsplitters limited the Pioneers to only a 29.4% mark in the second frame and forced them into committing 23 turnovers. The Lady Railsplitters used those 23 turnovers to capitalize with 31 points.
After the opening four minutes of play, Lincoln Memorial held an 8-4 lead following a three-point bucket by Ralissa Nelson, however, that advantage was quickly erased over the next 1:15 with a 7-0 rally by the Pioneers, capped with a three by Jama Hammontree. The Lady Railsplitters cut the deficit back to 13-12 with a jumper by Kortnay Cox at the 12:44 mark, yet, another 7-0 rally by the Pioneers propelled TC out to a 20-12 lead with 10:31 to play in the first frame.
Over the next seven minutes, the Pioneers clung to a two-possession lead until the Lady Railsplitters swung a 30-26 Pioneer lead with a 5-1 run to knot the game at 31-31 with 1:17 left. The Pioneers would get the last laugh in the half, however, as they notched a free throw from Nequoiah Anderson and a jumper by Ashley Thurman to go into the break leading 34-31.
The Pioneers added another basket by Thurman to kickoff the second half, extending their lead to five. The Lady Railsplitters responded with a pair of Kelsey Bradford free throws and a three-pointer by Kalasia Green to knot the game at 36-36 with 18:42 left in regulation. Thurman answered with a bucket in the next possession to put the Pioneers back on top, but that was short lived, as the Lady Railsplitters countered with a 6-0 run, capped with a layup by Bradford to assume a 42-38 lead with 15:10 to play.
Lincoln Memorial held the lead for nearly four minutes until the Pioneers regained it with a three-pointer by Nequoiah Anderson at the 11:14 mark. Over the next five minutes, the lead jockeyed back and forth until the two teams met squarely in a 52-52 stalemate with 6:21 to play. From that juncture Kelsey Bradford drained a free throw and Kalasia Green tallied a three-point play to give Lincoln Memorial a lead they would never relinquish. By the 4:30 mark, the Lady Railsplitters had built their advantage to five with a Ralissa Nelson three-ball and Bradford squeezed it up to as many as seven with a layup at the two-minute mark.
The Lady Railsplitters would extend their lead to as many as 12 down the stretch en route to a 72-64 win over the Pioneers. The final 6:21 made the difference in the contest, as the Lady Railsplitters out-scored the Pioneers, 20-12, over that span. In total, the game saw five ties and seven lead changes.
Lincoln Memorial will take their two-game winning streak on the road this weekend, as they are set to travel to Salisbury, North Carolina to engage in a South Atlantic Conference battle with the Catawba College Indians. That game is set to tip at 2 pm on Saturday, February 2nd.