Nashville --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team went down to the wire in a hard-fought season-opening win over a feisty Cumberland University team, 52-49, Friday night in the Gentry Center.
TSU improved to 1-0 while CU fell to 3-1 on the season.
Cumberland's Jessica Pace and Briannica Tye each tallied 11 points to lead the Bulldogs. Pace also registered a game-high nine boards.
It was a slow start for both teams as the score was only 2-1, in favor of the visitors, at the 16:09 mark. Cumberland, however, would quickly take control of the game after nailing three straight triples to go up, 13-3.
The TSU offense finally showed a little life after Simone Hopes connected in the paint to snap a four-minute skid.
Over the next several possessions, the Lady Tigers outscored the Bulldogs, 10-2, to pull within two.
TSU briefly took the lead, 21-19, before going into halftime trailing CU, 24-22.
In the second half, the teams traded buckets as the score wavered back and forth. With 11:06 on the clock, TSU had a slight, 35-34, lead when a score by Avery Jones put the Lady Tigers on top, 37-34.
The see-saw battle continued over the next several minutes as neither team was able to pull away. A three-point play by Simone Hopes gave TSU a, 43-39, lead but CU responded with four unanswered to pull even with 4:48 remaining in the game.
With the game winding down, Cumberland used three free-throws to capture a, 49-46, lead with 1:31 on the clock. On the next possession, Rachel Allen scored before finding Destiney Gaston in the paint on the next trip down to put TSU up, 50-49.
The Bulldogs missed on their next shot attempt and were forced to foul with 25.8 seconds left. After TSU split on the freebies, Cumberland had another opportunity to take the lead.
CU, however, missed two close range shots and Simone Hopes came away with the rebound. Hopes was fouled and made 1-of-2 to give the Lady Tigers a slight, 52-49, advantage with 5.1 seconds remaining.
Cumberland had a chance for one last play but the three-point attempt was off the mark.
TSU struggled shooting the ball tonight, only knocking down 33.3 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from the charity stripe but the Lady Tigers recorded 16 steals in the contest.
The Lady Tigers return to action on Monday, Nov. 12 at South Alabama. Game time is slated for 7 p.m. in the Mitchell Center.