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Miller, Shawnee State edge Cumberland

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Shawnee State women’s basketball reached the Mid-South Conference Championship Game for the fourth season in a row on Saturday afternoon, winning in the MSC Tournament Semifinals against Cumberland (Tenn.) 70-63 at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

The Bears jumped out to a 7-2 lead thanks to Ashton Lovely who scored all seven baskets. SSU would maintain their five-point lead through the quarter ending it with a 13-8 lead. Lovely led the Bears scoring effort with 10 points.

The second quarter featured a strong off-the-bench performance from Lydia Poe, who scored 6 points before the half filling in offensively after Lovely had to go to the bench for committing two early fouls. Hannah Miller added four points and found her way to the line. At the half Shawnee State maintained a 32-25 lead.

Cumberland came out of the half with intensity cutting the Shawnee State lead to four when Janisha Lindsey hit a three-point shot with 6:31 remaining in the third period. Hannah Miller would answer for SSU going on a six-point spurt using her quickness to drive into the lane.

Shawnee State was put under heavy pressure in the final minutes of play when Cumberland took the lead. The Phoenix were able to get to the line while also forcing turnovers and limiting the Bears offense, Katherine Griffith hit a jumper from just inside the paint to give Cumberland a 63-62 lead with 1:17 remaining in the game. Madison Ridout responded on the very next possession draining a three from the top of the key with a hand in her face. The Phoenix turned the ball over out of bounds on the ensuing possession and Ashton Lovely was able to draw a foul making both free-throws. Shawnee State closed out the contest, winning the defensive battle 70-63

Ashton Lovely led the Bears in scoring with 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Hannah Miller finished the contest with 14 points, while senior Lydia Poe finished with 13 to go with her six rebounds. Madison Ridout added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Cumberland was led offensively by Janisha Lindsey and Katherine Griffith who both had 14 points. Kerrice Watson also finished the game in double-digits with 12 points.

The win improves Shawnee State to 29-3 on the season. Cumberland falls to 20-11. SSU has now won five in a row over the Phoenix, and leads the all-time series 10-6.

Shawnee State will play for the Mid-South Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon, facing off against (3) Campbellsville for the MSC’s automatic berth to the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Tournament. Tip-off is set for 2:00pm from the East Kentucky Expo Center.