Lady Cougars Claim Regular Season AMC Crown
HANNIBAL, MO -- The Columbia College Lady Cougar basketball squad defeated Hannibal-LaGrange University tonight to claim the regular season American Midwest Conference (AMC) crown. Columbia defeated the Trojans 67-60. The Lady Cougars, ranked No. 24 in the NAIA Top 25 Poll, are 21-8 overall and 11-2 in conference play. The Trojans drop to 16-13 on the season and 6-7 in the AMC.
This is Columbia's seventh regular season title in the 11 years of the program. Three of the six previous years the Lady Cougars have gone on to win the tournament championship and earn the automatic bid to the National Championships. With the top seed in the AMC tournament the Lady Cougars will host each game they play, starting Wednesday, February 29th. The tournament bracket will be released by the conference office on Saturday night once all seeds are finalized.
After an 11-4 run by the Trojans to start the game, Columbia came back to take a 31-27 lead at the break, led by Airelle Eldridge's 10 point performance.
The two squads spent the majority of the second half trading baskets and leads. With four minutes to go the teams were all knotted up at 54. The Lady Cougars took a two-point lead a minute later but the Trojans tied it up again on their next possession. With 1:58 left in the ball game, Julie Teeple's three-point play put Columbia up 59-56. Tierney Seifert's steal and a three-point play by Airelle Eldridge gave the Lady Cougars a six-point cushion. However, a made basket, back-to-back fouls on the Lady Cougars and a steal by the Trojans put the home squad right back in the ballgame. Columbia had a two-point lead and possession with 35 seconds left on the clock. Hannibal was forced to foul, sending the Lady Cougars to the line where they would make five of their six attempts and take the seven-point victory.
Eldridge paced the Lady Cougars with 21 points. Ashley Fisher finished with 15 points and eight rebounds and Heather English had 14 points. Teeple chipped in a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.