Quin Byrd was one of three Limestone University players to score 20 points, finishing with a game-high 27 as the Saints defeated Tusculum University 80-61 in South Atlantic Conference women’s basketball action Tuesday evening at Pioneer Arena.

Reagan Kargo added 22 points and Reagan McCray chipped in with 20 for the Saints (5-0, 3-0 SAC), who shot an even 50 percent from the field (26-for-52) and 3-point range (11-for-22) and outrebounded the Pioneers by a 42-34 margin. Kargo was 4-for-5 on 3-pointers and McCray shot 4-for-10 from beyond the arc for Limestone, which led 40-17 at halftime.

Jordan Rogers led the Pioneers (1-4, 0-3 SAC) with 14 points in 21 minutes off the bench, while Jalia Arnwine added 13 points and Chloe Warrington contributed 12 points and four rebounds. Mya Belton had a team-high 10 rebounds for the Pioneers, who shot 29.5 percent (18-for-61) from the field and 7-for-25 from 3-point land in the game, but went 18-for-23 at the foul line.

Byrd shot 12-for-20 from the field and pulled nine of her 10 rebounds on the defensive glass. She scored 14 points in the first half, while Kargo had 14 points for the Saints in the second half. Limestone was 11-for-14 from the foul line in the fourth quarter as Tusculum was able to get no closer than 15 points in the final period.

Rogers went 8-for-9 from the foul line for the Pioneers, while Warrington was 4-for-7 from 3-point range to help Tusculum to a 35-5 edge in bench scoring over Limestone. Myajae Eubanks added seven points in six minutes and Lexi Patty had two points and five rebounds in 12 minutes in a reserve role. Alyssa Walker tallied five points and four rebounds for the Pioneers, with Sophie Henry dishing out a team-high three assists in 24 minutes.

The teams exchanged three pointers in the first two minutes, but the Saints went up 9-3 on a 3-pointer by Kargo and a layup by Byrd. Tusculum was 2-for-14 from the field in the opening quarter, with a 3-pointer from Warrington with 3:49 left bringing the Pioneers within 9-6 before the Saints closed the period with nine straight points. Tusculum went 0-for-4 from the field with three turnovers in the final three minutes of the quarter while the Saints scored on four of five possessions to extend their lead to 18-6.

McCray pushed the Limestone run to 12-0 with a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second quarter, before Arnwine ended the Tusculum scoring drought at nearly six minutes with a steal and layup with 7:58 left in the half. The Limestone surge would reach 23-4 as back-to-back 3-pointers from McCray and Josie Long gave the Saints a 32-10 lead with 3:06 remaining in the quarter. Byrd scored six points in the final minute of the half for the Saints, including a three-point play with 1.1 seconds left to give Limestone a 40-17 lead at intermission.

Byrd led all players with 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting in the first half for Limestone, which shot 46.7 percent from the field (14-for-30) and 3-point territory (7-for-15) in the first half. McCray added 10 points and Kargo eight for the Saints, while Arnwine led the Pioneers with seven points. Tusculum was just 5-for-26 (19.2 percent) from the field and 2-for-13 from 3-point range in the opening half, along with 11 turnovers.

Tusculum opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run, coming on two 3-pointers each from Arnwine and Warrington, to cut the Limestone lead to 42-29 with 6:11 left in the period. However, the Saints responded with six points from Byrd and two 3-pointers by Kargo to go up 54-31 with 2:12 left in the quarter. A 3-pointer by McCray with six seconds left gave Limestone a 60-40 lead heading into the fourth, and Tusculum would get no closer than 76-61 on a steal and layup by Belton with 47 seconds remaining in the game.

The Pioneers travel to UVA Wise at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Cavaliers (1-4, 1-2 SAC) earned their first win of the season in their home opener on Tuesday with a 77-70 victory over Mars Hill.

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