Barbourville, KY- Berea returned to the road for the third time in a row, this time traveling to Union College in Barbourville, KY to compete in the Union College Holiday Classic. The Mountaineers came into the match up on a three game winning streak looking to move it to four against the Cumberland University (Tenn.) Bulldogs in their first match up of the classic.
After allowing the first basket of the game, Berea came out of the gates racing, scoring nine consecutive points, four of the points coming from two Anna Loveless baskets, to take a 9-2 advantage early in the first quarter. Cumberlands came back to tie the game 10-10 before Kelsey Tippitt's 3-pt basket gave Berea a three point lead. The Bulldogs reversed the lead as they turned a three point deficit into a three point lead with a 6-0 run to make the score 16-13. The teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the quarter, with Cumberlands ending the quarter with a 20-17 lead. Loveless and Zacchea Small led the way for the Mountaineers with four points each in the first quarter.
The second quarter continued the trend of exchanging baskets between the two teams, with neither team maintaining a lead higher than three. With the score 29-26 at the 6:21 mark, Berea owned the rest of the quarter as they went on a 14-0 run and used strong defense to limit the Bulldogs to 4-17 shooting to take an 11 point lead. The Mountaineers looked like they were going to take their double digit lead into the half, but Cumberlands hit a 3-pt basket at the buzzer to make Berea's lead eight with a score of 40-32. Adriana Williams led the scoring for the Mountaineers in the quarter with 10, making her the leader for the half with 13 points.
The momentum Berea gained in the second quarter did not carry over to the beginning of the second half as the Bulldogs cut down the eight point advantage the Mountaineers had to one with 6:15 left in the third quarter. After seeing their lead disappear and falling behind by three points, Tippitt got fouled on a made jump shot and knocked down the free throw to tie the game up at 45. Berea could not turn the tie in their favor though as the Bulldogs scored the next four points before Bethanie Williams' jump three point play cut the deficit back to one, 49-48. The Mountaineers ended the third quarter facing a one point deficit with the score being 53-52. The scoring leader for the quarter for Berea was Tippett with five points.
The fourth quarter belonged to Cumberlands, as they outscored the Mountaineers 24-7 in the quarter, beginning with a 10-0 run to take an 11 point lead with 6:52 remaining in the game. Berea scored the next six points to reduce the deficit to five, before the Bulldogs used a 14-1 run over the last five minutes of the game to win 77-59.
The Mountaineers had three double digit scores, led by Adriana Williams with 19 points, finishing also with five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Tippitt, the team leader in rebounds with six, finished with 12 points while Bethanie Williams finished the game with 10 points.
Berea returns to action tomorrow, Saturday December 12th, as they face the host team, Union College. The game is scheduled to tip off at 4:00 PM and can be seen online here.