The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Team (19-9) fell to Tusculum (16-12), 59-51, in overtime Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament at Timmons Arena.
Tusculum moves on to face top-seeded Anderson (22-8) in the league tournament championship game tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. The Pioneers are the No. 6 seed while the Bears were seeded second. The Pioneers' Kendal Baxter (Sevierville, Tenn.) finished with a team-high 12 points and hit four three-pointers as Tusculum advanced to the league tournament finals for the fifth time in the past six years.
Baxter hit the game-tying three-pointer with 29 seconds left to force overtime tied at 44-all. Tusculum's Kristen McMillion (Fayetteville, N.C.) broke a 46-46 tie with a lay-up at the 3:12 mark of overtime which proved to be the game-winner for the Pioneers.
L-R was led by junior forward Nneka Awuruonye's (Charlotte, N.C.) 19 points and 16 rebounds but the Bears shot just 28 percent (19-of-68) for the game including six percent (one-for-18) from behind the three-point line in the loss.
Awuruonye was the lone player to score in double figures for the Bears, who also hit just 46 percent (12-of-26) from the free throw line.
Tusculum's Ashley Thurman (Nashville, Tenn.) also scored in double figures, finishing with 11 points as the Pioneers beat the Bears for the second time this season. The contest featured 11 ties and 11 lead changes while each squad turned the ball over 18 times. Tusculum was effective in the overtime frame, scoring 15 points and hitting five-of-seven shots (71 percent) from the field.
Lenoir-Rhyne, ranked fourth in this week's NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Poll, will now await word on a possible berth to the national tournament. The announcement will be made on Sunday at 10:00 p.m., and can be seen on www.ncaa.com.
TUSCULUM 59, L-R 51 (OT)
Score by Periods 1st 2nd OT Total
Tusculum...................... 15 29 15 - 59
Lenoir-Rhyne.................. 21 23 7 - 51
TUSCULUM: McCANN 6, HAMMONTREE 9, THURMAN 11, BARKSDALE 6, BAXTER 12 (3 ASSISTS), ANDERSON 6, BURLESON 5 (11 REBOUNDS), McMILLION 4. FG: 19-60, 3FG: 6-21, FT: 15-21. 49 REBOUNDS, 9 ASSISTS, 18 TURNOVERS.
THREE-POINTERS: BAXTER 4, HAMMONTREE 2.
L-R: KATT 1, LAUGHTER 5 (3 ASSISTS), AWURUONYE 19 (16 REBOUNDS), CHARLES 9, GUST 8 (3 ASSISTS), BONGIORNO 6, MOBLEY 3. FG: 19-68, 3FG: 1-18, FT: 12-26. 52 REBOUNDS, 9 ASSISTS, 18 TURNOVERS.
Photo Courtesy: Nneka Awuruonye, L-R Athletics