D2 Women’s Elite Eight Action

Lady Statesmen advance to Final Four with 55-47 win over Lady Buffs

The Lady Statesmen pressured the West Texas A & M Lady Buffs right out of Texas, and the Elite Eight. The dominant defense of Delta State held their opponents to just 13 first half points, and the Lady Statesmen survived a late stampede by the Lady Buffs to claim a 55-47 victory and a trip to the National Semifinals.

With 4:12 left in the game, the Lady Statesmen (30-6) enjoyed a seemingly comfortable 45-30 lead. Just over three minutes later, West Texas (28-6) cut the lead to just four points at 49-45. The Lady Statesmen made four free throws in the final minute of the game and allowed just two more points to take the victory.

The Lady Statesmen were dominate early defensively, holding West Texas A & M to just 23.1-percent shooting in the first half. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead over the first three minutes of the half, the Lady Buffs rallied to cut the lead to four nearly ten minutes later.

Delta State took a 19-13 lead into the locker room at halftime behind the hot hand of Courtney Wilson, who made 2-of-4 shots from the field and 3-of-3 from the free throw line to lead the Lady Statesmen with seven points.

Freshman Veronica Walker led all scorers with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. She also had four key blocks. Denesha Henderson added a career-high 12 points and five rebounds, while Wilson added nine points.

The Lady Statesmen shot 55.6-percent in the second half, increasing their shooting percentage to 46.8 for the game, while holding the Lady Buffs to a mere 25.4-percent, establishing a new NCAA postseason record for DSU.


–Courtesy GoStatesmen.com

No. 14 Franklin Pierce Defeats No. 6 California (Pa), 88-73

Despite 30 points from senior guard Linsday Johnson the No. 6 Vulcans suffered an 88-73 loss to No. 14 Franklin Pierce University (N.H.) in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight on Tuesday at the Bill Greehey Arena.

The California University of Pennsylvania women’s basketball team finished the season with a 29-5 overall record after making its fourth Elite Eight appearance in the last seven seasons.

Franklin Pierce‘s Johannah Leedham led the team with 30 points, shooting 9-of-13, while teammates Toby Martin and Jennifer Leedham finished with 16 a piece.

Vulcans’ Johnson scored a team-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor, including three-of-six from beyond the arc. She also collected six rebounds and two assists. The Ohio native moved into No. 10 place in school history with 1,263 points, surpassing former teammate Kim Nowakowski (2004-07). Johnson also finished her career as one of the most prolific three-point shooters in school history, ranking third all-time with 156 treys.

Franklin Pierce will face the winner of Delta State and West Texas A&M Wednesday.

–Courtesy Cal (PA) Athletics

Huge comeback earns Seawolves Final 4 berth

All-America center Rebecca Kielpinski delivered 14 points and 13 rebounds and Alaska Anchorage held Clayton State without a field goal for the final eight minutes Tuesday to earn a 66-59 win in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championships.

Ruby Williams and Tamar Gruwell added 11 points apiece for 2nd-ranked UAA (31-3), which advances to its second consecutive national semifinal appearance. The Seawolves will face 4th-ranked Minnesota State (30-2) in that game Wednesday. Clayton State (26-7), the winner of the Southeast Region, was led by 12 points from reserve forward Nikkisha Pritchett.

The Seawolves started the game on a roll, scoring the first 12 points before CSU called a timeout. But that break got the Lakers rolling as the Atlanta-based squad turned up its full-court pressure and drained three straight three-pointers to make UAA’s lead evaporate in less than two minutes. CSU continued to thrive from its pressure throughout the half, forcing 17 UAA turnovers and taking a 39-30 lead into the locker room – the Seawolves’ largest halftime deficit of the season.

The Lakers maintained their lead at around seven to 11 points throughout the first 12 minutes of the second half, but UAA – the nation’s leading defensive club – would bounce back after falling behind 56-43 at the 8:35 mark. Freshman forward Hanna Johansson started the decisive 23-3 surge with an inside bucket, and Williams followed with a layup a minute later. From there, Gruwell – scoreless to that point in the game – took over on the offensive end, draining three three-pointers in a two-and-half-minute span. Her final swish tied it 57-57 at the 5-minute mark, and Clayton State could not regain control.


–Courtesy Alaska-Anchorage Athletics

Minnesota Mankato Moves On To Semi-finals

The No. 4 Minnesota State Mavericks kept their NCAA Championship aspirations alive as they defeated the Michigan Tech Huskies 61-53 in their first ever Elite Eight game. The win brings MSU’s record to 30-2, while Michigan Tech ends its season with a 27-7 record.

The first half began with Michigan Tech jumping out to an early 14-8 lead with 13:19 left in the half. The Huskies shot 4-of-4 from three point land during that stretch. The Mavericks and Huskies would remain close the rest of the way, exchanging the lead four times, with Michigan Tech finishing the half with a 31-30 lead. The Huskies finished the half shooting 6-of-7 from beyond the three point line. Senior guard Jo Noreen led all scorers with 12 points, while shooting 4-of-5 from the field. Senior forward Alex Andrews posted a team-high six rebounds, along with four points.

Scoring was at a premium early on in the second as Michigan Tech held a two-point lead at 36-34 with 14:00 left in the half. The Mavericks would then begin a 15-5 run, behind seven points from junior guard Tiffany Moe, to take a 49-41 lead with 8:31 left in regulation. MSU would then extend its lead to 11, at 56-45, behind a three point shot from sophomore guard Andrea Walsh with 4:21 left in the game. The Mavericks would not look back as they closed out the game with a 61-53 win. Noreen paced the Mavericks with 20 points, along with six rebounds and five steals. Moe added 11 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five steals. Moe and Noreen combined for 10 of MSU’s 12 steals. Andrews recorded her 12th career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Minnesota State will take on the winner of the Alaska-Anchorage in the NCAA Final Four Wednesday.


–Courtesy Minnesota State Mankato Athletics

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