No. 13 Lady Cougars Fall to Shawnee State in First Round
FRANKFORT, KY - The 13th-ranked Columbia Lady Cougar basketball team saw their season come to an end today as they fell to Shawnee State University 62-56 in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. Columbia finishes the year with an overall record of 27-7, while the Bears, ranked 18th in the NAIA, improve to 24-9 and will move on to the second round of the tournament.
Shawnee State led by as many twelve following a back and forth start to the contest as they took a 36-26 lead at the halftime break. The Lady Cougars struggled from the field in the opening frame, connecting on just 32 percent of their attempts and going one of 11 from behind the three-point arc. The Bears shot 45 percent from the floor despite 14 turnovers, and owned a 25-18 advantage on the glass. AMC Player of the Year Heather English led all scorers with 13 points at the break for Columbia.
Shawnee State stretched their lead back out to twelve at 46-34 to begin the second half. The Lady Cougars would storm back with a 14-1 run over the next six minutes, capped off by an English free throw with 8:05 to play for a 48-47 Columbia lead, their first since the 11:05 mark of the first period. The Bears answered with a three on their next possession to regain the advantage, 50-48. Sophomore Kayla Washington put the Lady Cougars back in front with a pair of free throws at the 4:07 mark for a 53-52 lead. Shawnee State took the lead back with four straight points, but Columbia would draw even at 56 on a basket by English and a free throw by senior Julie Teeple. The Bears hit three free throws over the next minute to grab a 59-56 advantage with 1:12 remaining in regulation. The Lady Cougars were held scoreless over the final two minutes of play as Shawnee State pulled away for the six-point victory.
Columbia finished the game at 31 percent from the field, compared to 41 percent for the Bears. The Lady Cougars pressured Shawnee State into 30 turnovers, but were outrebounded 47-36 in the contest.
English finished with a game-high 20 points leading Columbia. Teeple and senior Lily Abreu each finished with 10 points, rounding out the Lady Cougar players in double figures. Teeple added 10 rebounds for a double-double in her final collegiate game, while Abreu led all players with five assists.
The Bears received a double-double from both Schera Sampson (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Alex Pohl (12 points, 16 rebounds). Shawnee State will take on the winner of Central Methodist (Mo.) University and Oklahoma City University in Friday's second round game at 10:45 a.m.
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