Lady Splitters earn 66-58 overtime win
Published 1:56 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2018
HARROGATE, Tenn. — After trailing a very determined but short-handed Queens team for three quarters, the LMU women’s basketball team clawed their way back from a 12-point third quarter deficit to force overtime, where they outlasted the Royals 66-58 Saturday afternoon.
The game was nationally televised as the NCAA DII Showcase on ESPN3 along with the men’s game, and was also senior day for Shea Coker, Ross Mathis and Karsen Sims.
With the win, LMU (17-10, 12-8 SAC) earns the four-seed in the upcoming South Atlantic Conference Tournament and will host a quarterfinal round game vs. Catawba Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.
Jordan Brightwell and Emily Griffith led LMU with 13 points apiece, while Griffith led the team with nine rebounds and seven steals. Ross Mathis had 10 points and four assists.
Lade Adepoju led the Royals (4-22, 1-19 SAC) with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Mendy McNeese had 12 points in her final game, while Kristian Eanes and Herning Wang each chipped in eleven points. Also playing in her final collegiate game was Victoria Robinson, who was held scoreless.
LMU’s rebounding is a big reason for their comeback as they out-rebounded the Royals by a 51-28 margin. The rebounds also contributed to 16 LMU second-chance points, while Queens had two. The Lady Railsplitters also had 15 steals, while Queens had eight.
The Lady Railsplitters shot 33.9 percent from the field, 25.0 percent from three-point range and 74.2 percent from the free-throw line. Queens had a solid outing, shooting 37.7 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from behind the arc and 81.3 percent from the charity stripe.
The Royals led from the start as Queens won the opening tip and found Adepoju in the paint for the early lay-up. They would end up starting the game on a 10-2 run. Baskets by DuBose and Coker cut the lead to four, but Queens would extend the lead back to eight late in the quarter.
LMU’s defense held Queens to only one basket over the last three minutes, but were able only to score four points off of free throws and trailed 20-16 at the end of the period.
Queens extended their lead to 25-16 with 6:23 left in the half before going scoreless for the next four minutes. LMU, who only shot 15.4 percent for the quarter, only were able to cut the lead to five before Queens found their shooting touch again and went on a 9-2 run to close out the half with the 34-22 lead.
The Lady Railsplitters begin to find their shooting touch in the third quarter along with stepping up their defensive pressure. The result was LMU outscoring Queens 16-7 in the period and taking their first lead of the game with 34 seconds left in the stanza off the short jump shot by Qua Hines. Adepoju was fouled on the Royals’ next possession, and hit both to give Queens the 41-40 lead going into the final period.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth scoring affair, with neither team able to grab more than a three-point lead until a Coker jumper in the paint put LMU ahead 53-48 with 2:06 remaining. Eanes and McNeese then put the Royals back in front with less than a minute remaining as they hit back to back 3-pointers. LMU then missed a short jump shot that was rebounded by DuBose and given to Griffith, who drove in for the score and the 55-54 lead with 21 seconds left.
Queens called timeout to advance the ball and on the ensuing play McNeese was fouled with three seconds left. She hit both free throws to put Queens ahead 56-55. LMU coach Krystal Evans then called a timeout to advance the ball. LMU then inbounded the ball to Brightwell, who mishandled the pass but was fouled while diving for the loose ball with 0.3 seconds remaining. She hit one of two free throws to force overtime.
In the overtime period, Mathis gave LMU the lead with the long 3-pointer a minute into the stanza. Both teams were unable to score for the next 2:30 until Griffith grabbed the rebound off a McNeese miss and drove the length of the court for the layup.
Adepoju then found Wang in the paint to cut the lead to 61-58 with 1:02 left in the extra frame, but a clutch 3-pointer and pair of free throws by Coker sealed the 66-58 victory.
LMU will host Catawba Wednesday evening in the SAC Tournament quarterfinal round. The winner earns a berth in the semifinals, which will be played at Timmons Arena in Greenville, South Carolina on March 3 and 4. Catawba won at Mars Hill 83-48.