NORFOLK, Va. – Kendra Cooper scored 20 points and Taylor Houston 13 as Bethune-Cookman fended off a late Savannah State rally for a 53-43 victory in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals Wednesday afternoon.
Kailyn Williams’ 11 rebounds and six blocked shots keyed a Lady Wildcat (20-9) defensive effort that held Savannah State (12-19) to 22 percent field goal shooting that helped Bethune-Cookman take 18 point leads on Houston baskets with 8:33 remaining that made it 41-23 and 45-27 with 5:48 left play.
Savannah State made its run, scoring 14 unanswered points to close to 45-41 on two Kenyatta Hendrix free throws with 1:17 to play.
Cooper’s three-pointer with 52 seconds left quieted the run and put Bethune-Cookman up by seven. Cooper, Williams and Emily Williams combined to make five of six free throws to seal the victory.
Now winners of 11 straight, Bethune-Cookman will face the winner of Thursday’s Florida A&M-Norfolk State game in a noon semifinal Friday.
A senior, Cooper finished with four three-pointers, one coming on a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter that gave Bethune-Cookman an 11-9 lead and another at the start of the third quarter that set the tone for the Lady Wildcats pulling away from a 20-14 halftime lead.
The Lady Wildcats extended their lead to 35-19 on an Ashanti Hunt lay-up with 3:06 remaining in the period and would enter the final frame up 37-23.
Houston, a senior, was 5-9 from the field and also had six rebounds as she posted her third consecutive double-figure tournament game.
Hunt finished with eight points, Emily Williams six points, three assists and three steals and Kailyn Williams five
Hendrix led Savannah State with 16 points, while Tiyonda Davis posted an 11-point, 19-round double-double.
Courtesy: B-CU Athletics