CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The 17th-ranked Walters State Lady Senators found themselves in a dog fight midway through the third quarter at Cleveland State before suddenly catching fire.
Leading by four, WSCC scored 18 points in the final five minutes of the third frame and opened the fourth quarter with an 18-4 spurt to pull away for a 70-46 victory over the Lady Cougars inside L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium.
With the win, the Lady Senators have won 160 of their last 161 games in Tennessee Community College Athletic Association competition, as they now stand at 22-4 overall and 14-0 in league play. Wednesday's win came at the site of the upcoming TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII Tournament.
The loss dropped the Lady Cougars to 6-15 on the year and 4-9 in region action.
The Lady Senators rolled out to a 16-7 lead after one period and led by as much as 15 early in the second period before watching the home team cut the lead nearly in half by the end of the frame. Cleveland State entered halftime trailing 27-19.
The Lady Cougars kept charging forward to begin the second half, slicing the margin to 31-27 at the midway point of the third frame, but WSCC responded in dominating fashion.
The Lady Senators put together an 18-9 run to close the third, with Dulcy Fankam Mendjiadeu tossing in eight during the spurt, to make it a 49-36 lead entering the final 10 minutes. Walters State then scored 18 of the first 22 points in the fourth, taking a 67-40 lead before cruising through the final three minutes to close out the victory.
Walters State shot 41.2 percent (28 of 68) from the field in the win, assisting on 22 of those made baskets. The Lady Senators made just 2 of 17 from long range while knocking down 12 of 18 at the charity stripe. Mendjiadeu had a big night, totaling 22 points, nine rebounds, five assists and five steals in the win, while Jamya Rogers added 14 points and Zacharyia Esmon and Alexis Trice both had 8 points in the victory.
Cleveland State shot just 35.3 percent (18 of 51) from the floor, making 2 of 10 from downtown and 8 of 11 free throws while committing 28 turnovers in the defeat. Hannah Phillips paced the Lady Cougars with 12 points, while Michaela Bennefield added 11 and Peyton Eads had 10 in the loss.
The Lady Senators will return to the home floor on Saturday when they host Chattanooga State in a contest set for a 2 p.m. tip inside 'Z' Buda Gymnasium. It will be sophomore day for Walters State, as it is the final home game of the season.