No. 7 Bears rebound, knock off No. 1 Campbellsville

The No. 7-women’s basketball program at Shawnee State put three players in double-figures as Sydney King, Anyia Pride, and Brandie Snow all obtained double-figure scoring outputs, while the Bears, as a unit, outrebounded Campbellsville by a massive 45-27 count en route to a 79-64 victory over the Tigers, who entered the day an unblemished 18-0 and the No. 1-ranked team in the country, on Saturday afternoon at Powell Athletic Center in Campbellsville.

SSU (18-2, 5-1 Mid-South Conference), who shot 30-of-63 from the floor, used their defensive intensity to hold Campbellsville to a 22-of-53 mark from the field. The Bears also muscled Campbellsville (18-1, 4-1 MSC) around in the low post, claiming a plus-18 margin (45-27) on the glass en route to the win.

The Bears, who jumped out to a 9-2 lead to begin the contest behind strong starts from King, Pride, and Snow, never looked back as the trio combined to score each of Shawnee State’s first 19 points to give Shawnee State a 19-10 lead with 3:58 to go as all three players utilized strong finishes in transition and imposed their will on the quarter en route to a 24-15 lead after the opening quarter of action.

In the second frame, the Bears pushed their advantage out to as much as a game-high 14 points (29-15) with 9:16 to play in the opening half before an injury to Bethany Mackin, along with foul trouble to Pride, Carson Roney, and Bailey Cummins, forced SSU to go deep on its bench. However, King stepped up again with three big free throws, and Leah Wingeier added a tip-in as the Bears maintained a double-digit advantage, 40-28, heading into the halftime break.

As is the case with the vast majority of Mid-South Conference matchups, Campbellsville rallied back into the fight. With the Bears up 46-31, the Tigers rallied back as Campbellsville cut the lead down to 49-48, then 52-51 as two critical threes by Caitlin Hall helped kickstart a 20-6 run that cut the Tigers’ lead to a single point. However, Natalie Zuchowski nailed two critical free throws to keep the lead in SSU’s favor, and King added in three more tallies to keep SSU at the end of the third quarter, which the Bears capped off with an outstanding defensive stand that allowed SSU to hold a 53-51 lead heading in the fourth quarter.

In the final stanza, Snow, King, and Pride took over.

With the Bears up 57-56 with 6:35 to go, King scored on quick action in the low post, and Snow, after a defensive stop by SSU, drove the length of the floor for a layup that put SSU up by a 61-55 margin, then added a pull-up jumper from the elbow of the free throw line to push the lead to a 63-56 margin. Madison Faulkner drew a foul to cut the Bears’ lead to 63-58, but Hagen Schaefer and Cummins knocked down two huge treys — Schaefer’s from the left side and Cummins’ from the right wing — to push the lead out to double-digits for good. Pride scored six consecutive Shawnee State points to put the game out of reach.

Pride’s 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, King’s 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists on 6-of-11 from the field and Snow’s 15 points, 14 rebounds and six assists led the Bears, while Cummins added in nine points and Mackin six in her abbreviated time to lead the Bears to the win.

Shawnee State will continue competing on the road in Mid-South play when the Bears take on UPike. Game time is set for 6 p.m.