The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Team (24-6) fell to Wingate (24-5), 77-73, in the championship game of the 2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament Sunday afternoon at Timmons Arena.
Wingate's Kayla Harris (Raleigh, N.C.) led all scorers with 27 points as the Bulldogs earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament.
Shelby Tricoli (Waynesville, N.C.) added 22 points for the Bulldogs, who won their seventh league tournament in school history. Wingate will also be making its 12th appearance all-time in the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
The Bears were led by junior guard Danielle Bongiorno (Wilmington, N.C.) with 17 points and was one of four Lenoir-Rhyne players to score in double figures despite the loss.
Senior forward Nneka Awuruonye (Charlotte, N.C.) added 14 points and 14 rebounds off the bench for the Bears, who should receive an at-large bid to the regionals. Lenoir-Rhyne was ranked first in this week's Southeast Regional Poll.
Wingate, the second seed in this year's conference tournament, built a 66-54 advantage - its largest of the game - on a pair of free throws by Morgan McGee (Durham, N.C.) before L-R rallied to cut the margin to two points with 43 seconds left but Tricoli iced the contest with two free throws to round out the scoring.
Lenoir-Rhyne junior guard Jenni Gust (Colfax, Wis.) added 13 points as the Bears lost for just the third time in their last 22 contests. Top-seeded L-R also shot just 35 percent (22-of-63) from the field in falling to Wingate for the second time this year.
2014 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference
Women's Basketball All Tournament Team
Kalya Harris, Wingate (MVP)
Janitsha Williams, Wingate
Jenni Gust, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jazmine Charles, Lenoir-Rhyne
Kaitlyn Cupples, Carson-Newman
L-R Women To Host Southeast Region Tournament
The Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Team (24-6) will host the 2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament, which begins Friday with the quarterfinal round at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium.
This will be the second time in school history the Bears have hosted the regionals. L-R also hosted back in 2009.
Lenoir-Rhyne, ranked No. 24 in NCAA Division II, earned a playoff berth for the fifth time in school history and is making its second straight postseason appearance as well. The Bears were the 2013-14 South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Champions and advanced to the finals of the league tournament.
Joining Lenoir-Rhyne from the South Atlantic Conference is third-seeded Wingate (24-5), the 2014 Food Lion SAC Tournament Champions and league regular season co-champions. The Bulldogs are making their 12th appearance in NCAA Division II postseason history.
The Peach Belt Conference has put four teams in the regionals - second-seeded Clayton State (22-6), fourth-seeded North Georgia (22-6), fifth-seeded Columbus State (21-7) and eighth-seeded Armstrong Atlantic State (19-7). The Cougars of Columbus State earned the automatic bid after winning the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship. Like L-R, North Georgia (No. 23) is also ranked nationally.
Rounding out the regional tournament this year is a pair of Conference Carolinas schools - sixth-seeded Belmont Abbey (21-8) and seventh-seeded Limestone (24-5), the league tournament champions.
Times and ticket prices will be announced on Monday. The winner of the regional tournament will advanced to the 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Elite Eight, which takes place at the Erie Insurance Arena in Erie, Pa., on March 25-26 & 28 in Erie, Pa.
2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Region
Women's Basketball Tournament
Hickory, N.C. - Shuford Memorial Gymnasium
Friday, March 14 - Quarterfinals
No. 6 Belmont Abbey (21-8) vs. No. 3 Wingate (24-5)
No. 7 Limestone (24-5) vs. No. 2 Clayton State (22-6)
No. 5 Columbus State (21-7) vs. No. 4 North Georgia (22-6)
No. 8 Armstrong Atlantic State (19-7) at No. 1 Lenoir-Rhyne (24-6)
Saturday, March 15 - Semifinals
Monday, March 17 - Championship
Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Splits Doubleheader With GRU Augusta
The Lenoir-Rhyne Softball Team (16-5) split a doubleheader with GRU Augusta (12-17) Sunday afternoon at Jaguar Field. The Jaguars won the first contest, 2-1, before the Bears registered the shutout in the second game by a 7-0 score.
Game One - GRU Augusta 2, Lenoir-Rhyne 1
The Jaguars' Paige Deschaine (Summerville, S.C.) (6-8) limited the Bears to just one hit in the win. Deschaine also struck out three batters in the complete game victory.
L-R senior third baseman Haily Jarman (Wadesboro, N.C.) provided the lone offense in the contest for the Bears with an RBI double in the top of the third inning.
GRU Augusta responded with two runs in its half of the third as Molly Walton (Morrison, Colo.) drove in both Jaguars with a two-out double.
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Maryann Hoskins (Havelock, N.C.) (7-3) took the loss despite allowing just one earned run while striking out four batters.
Game Two - Lenoir-Rhyne 7, GRU Augusta 0
Lenoir-Rhyne sophomore Brandi Hole (Sandy Ridge, N.C.) threw a four-hit shutout, her fourth of the season, as the Bears salvaged the split. Hole improved to 9-2 on the year as she struck out three batters in the win.
Lenoir-Rhyne broke the game open with a five-run sixth inning highlighted by a three-run home run from senior shortstop Jody Mizelle (Colerain, N.C.).
L-R junior first baseman Katie Carpenter (Newton, N.C.) and senior second baseman Ciera Cockerham (Yadkinville, N.C.) each finished with a pair of hits and an RBI in the win as well.
GRU Augusta's Haley Birkle (Gainesville, Fla.) fell to 5-8 on the season after suffering the loss.
Lenoir-Rhyne returns home to face Francis Marion in a doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 2:00 p.m. GRU Augusta, meanwhile, next plays Catawba in Salisbury, N.C., on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
Lenoir-Rhyne Splits South Atlantic Conference Baseball Doubleheader With Coker
Lenoir-Rhyne (5-17, 2-11) and Coker (11-7, 5-6) split a South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Tom J. New Field. The Bears won the first contest by a 2-0 score before the Cobras prevailed in the nightcap, 5-4, to salvage the split.
Game One - Lenoir-Rhyne 2, Coker 0 (seven innings)
Lenoir-Rhyne senior Eric Ryan (Baltimore, Md.) threw a two-hit shutout, his second straight complete game, to lift the Bears to the win. Ryan (1-2) also struck out six batters in registering his first win of the year.
The lone runs of the game came in the sixth inning when senior outfielder Brandon Walker (Otisville, N.Y.) connected on a two-run triple. Coker's Matthew Prosser (Florence, S.C.) (3-2) took the loss despite going the distance as well.
Game Two - Coker 5, Lenoir-Rhyne 4 (seven innings)
The Cobras used a four-run fifth inning to rally from a 2-1 deficit to take the second contest and salvage the doubleheader split.
The Cobras' Sammy Song (Port Orange, Fla.) came through with the game-winning, run-scoring single in the frame. Coker's Ernie Kirkwood (Horseheads, N.Y.) added an RBI triple in the first inning and finished with two hits and two runs batted in as well.
On the mound, the Cobras' Ben Brown (Glenville, N.Y.) improved to 3-1 after being credited with the victory while Andrew Goot (Oldsmar, Fla.) earned his third save of the season.
Lenoir-Rhyne junior outfielder Ivan Vieitez (Miami, Fla.) also connected on a run-scoring triple and finished with a pair of hits despite the setback. L-R junior Jeremy Coburn (Louisburg, N.C.) (3-2) took the loss.
Lenoir-Rhyne next hosts Belmont Abbey in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Coker plays at Claflin on Tuesday beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Lacrosse Puts It On Mars Hill, 18-8
The Lenoir-Rhyne Men's Lacrosse Team (3-2, 2-0) remained unbeaten in South Atlantic Conference play this year after downing Mars Hill (1-4, 0-1), 18-8, Sunday afternoon at Moretz Stadium.
L-R junior attacker Ned Kaish (Atlanta, Ga.) led the way with five goals while senior midfielder Tyler Kotch (Butler, Pa.) finished with two goals and five assists to lead the Bears to the relatively easy victory.
Mars Hill was led by Anthony Malcolm (New Westminster, British Columbia, CANADA) with three goals despite the setback.
After falling behind by a 3-2 score after one period of play, Lenoir-Rhyne took control in the second stanza by scoring all seven goals in the frame.
Kaish and Kotch keyed the run by scoring two goals each in the period as the Bears took a 9-3 advantage into intermission.
L-R senior midfielder Sam Ashton (New Market, Md.) added a pair of goals and two assists as the Bears also held a 46-32 advantage in shots taken in the contest.
In goal, junior Alex Squires (Lawrenceville, Ga.) earned the win after stopping five shots on the day. Mars Hill's Patrick McMahon (Buffalo, N.Y.) suffered the loss despite totaling nine saves.
Lenoir-Rhyne faces Lynn next Sunday, March 16, in Atlanta, Ga., beginning at Noon while Mars Hill returns home to face Catawba on Sunday beginning at 2:00 p.m., in a South Atlantic Conference match.
Photo Courtesy: Danielle Bongiorno, L-R Athletics