BRISTOL—Tusculum University overcame a 10-point first-half deficit and outscored King University by 22 points in the second half to come away with an 82-62 victory in the South Atlantic Conference/Conference Carolinas Women's Basketball Challenge on Saturday afternoon.
Kasey Johnson scored 20 points and Jalia Arnwine added a career-best 19 for the Pioneers (2-0), while Elle Hutchinson hit four three-pointers and added 18 points in 22 minutes off the bench. Maddie Sutton grabbed 10 rebounds for the Pioneers, who connected on 13 three-pointers and forced the Tornado (1-1) into 22 turnovers in the game.
Trinity Lee led King with 20 points, including 5-for-6 from three-point range, but the Tornado shot 37.3 percent from the field (19-for-51) and were outscored 31-14 during a third quarter that saw the Pioneers go from trailing 35-33 at halftime to leading 64-49 heading into the fourth quarter.
Arnwine scored 10 of her 19 points during Tusculum's third-quarter surge as the Pioneers shot 11-for-19 from the field in the quarter. Hutchinson added eight points and Johnson seven during the quarter, while the Pioneer defense forced the Tornado into six turnovers in the period.
Johnson scored on a layup and hit a three-pointer on her first two shots of the game, and a three-pointer by Arnwine and a layup by Mia Long extended the Tusculum lead to 12-9 with 5:37 left in the opening quarter. However, Lee hit a trio of three-pointers during a 14-2 run by the Tornado that gave King a 23-14 lead after one period.
Aliyah Miller connected for a three-pointer for the Pioneers to cut the deficit to 23-17, but Tusculum would go scoreless for the next five minutes as King built its biggest lead at 27-17 midway through the second quarter. Hutchinson, Miller and Mya Belton each hit threes as part of a 9-1 Tusculum run that pulled the Pioneers within 28-26 with 2:56 to go in the half. Another three-pointer by Hutchinson was followed by baskets from Long and Miller, the latter tying the game 33-33 with 31 seconds left in the half. King went ahead 35-33 on two free throws by Arielle Holloway with six seconds left and carried the two-point margin into halftime.
Miller led the Pioneers with eight points on 3-for-5 shooting in the first half, while Johnson had seven points -- all in the first quarter -- and Arnwine added five. Tusculum shot 38.2 percent (13-for-34) in the first half while King was just 9-for-23 (39.1 percent) from the floor but 12-for-16 from the free-throw line as a team. Lee led all players with 15 points in the first half, including four three-pointers, while Kori West had six points for the Tornado.
In the third quarter, the Pioneers took the lead for good at 40-37 on a three-pointer by Arnwine with 7:35 left in the period. Tusculum began to pull away midway through the quarter as Hutchinson drained a three and Arnwine connected on a jumper. Two free throws by Long pushed Tusculum ahead 49-43 with 3:52 left in the quarter, and five points by Johnson extended the Pioneer advantage to 59-49 with 56 seconds to go. Arnwine followed with a steal and layup, and Hutchinson canned another three at the buzzer as the Pioneers carried a 64-49 lead into the final period.
A three-pointer by Lee would bring King within 64-55 with 8:42 to go, but a three-point play from Johnson and baskets by Sutton and Hutchinson stretched out the Tusculum lead to 71-55 with 6:15 remaining. King would pull within 12 with just over four minutes left, but a Johnson three and a layup by Long following an Arnwine steal restored the Pioneer advantage to 17 points with 3 1/2 minutes left. King scored just two points over the final four minutes and went 0-for-6 from the field over that span.
Long finished in double figures for the second straight day with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds and two steals. Arnwine dished out a team-high five assists while Sutton and Hutchinson had three assists apiece. Kiki Samsel had 11 points and four rebounds for the Tornado, with West adding eight points and three blocked shots.
Tusculum will open its home schedule Tuesday at 6 p.m. as Clayton State visits Pioneer Arena.