Lenoir-Rhyne, ranked No. 24 in NCAA Division II, will face fourth-seeded Carson-Newman (16-13) in the semifinal round at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C., Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Carson-Newman defeated Catawba, the fifth seed, at home in the opening round tonight by an 82-68 score in Jefferson City, Tenn.
L-R was led by junior guard Jenni Gust (Colfax, Wis.), who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while senior guard Danielle Bongiorno (Wilmington, N.C.) and junior guard Jazmine Charles (Lexington, N.C.) added 17 points each as the Bears defeated the Cobras for the third time this season.
Coker, the eighth seed in the tournament, was led by Tanesha Stenson (Nashville, Tenn.) with a game-high 22 points and was one of four players to score in double figures for the Cobras despite the loss.
Lenoir-Rhyne held a 41-29 advantage at the break and never let their lead fall under seven points the rest of the way. L-R shot 53 percent (29-of-55) from the field as well and finished 19-of-22 (92 percent) from the free throw line in the win.
The Bears are making their second consecutive appearance in the conference tournament semifinals. Lenoir-Rhyne also remained first in this week's NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Poll.
Newberry Stuns L-R, 84-79
The Newberry Men's Basketball Team (19-8) rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to defeat Lenoir-Rhyne (16-11), 84-79, in the Quarterfinal Round of the Food Lion SAC Tournament Wednesday at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.
Newberry moves on to take on top-seeded Lincoln Memorial (25-2), No. 13 in NCAA Division II, in the semifinals on Saturday beginning at Noon at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.
The Wolves put five players in double figures, led by Xavier Holmes (Great Falls, S.C.) and Demarkus Smith (Johnston, S.C.) with 16 points each, in the victory.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore forward Rob Noyes (Morganton, N.C.) tied a career-high with 18 points while sophomore guard Will Perry (Wake Forest, N.C.) added 18 points off the bench as well in the losing effort.
L-R senior guard R.J. McClure (Canton, N.C.) scored 17 points and sank three free throws with 34 seconds remaining in the second half to force overtime tied at 72.
With the score tied at 79 with 59 seconds left in the extra session, Holmes sank a free throw to give the Wolves the lead for good before Cole Birchfield (Trenton, Ga.) iced the contest with a three-pointer. Birchfield added 14 points in addition to four treys.
Lenoir-Rhyne lost for only the second time in 12 games this year at home and was hurt by 25 turnovers in the contest. L-R fell as well despite shooting 58 percent (28-of-48) from the field and 18-of-21 (86 percent) from the free throw line.
Photo Courtesy: Jenni Gust, L-R Athletics