Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

January 23, 2014

NSU women hammer No. 2 Emporia State

Tate powers RiverHawks to upset with career-high 23 points

The Northeastern State women’s basketball team handed No. 2 Emporia State its first loss of the season with a dominant 59-44 victory Wednesday night inside the NSU Event Center.

The RiverHawks (9-8, 6-4 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association) led wire-to-wire and have now defeated two-straight ranked opponents after taking down then-No. 23 Fort Hays State on Saturday. The Lady Hornets (17-1, 8-1 MIAA) were held to their lowest point total since scoring 42 against Pittsburg State nearly two years ago (Feb. 15, 2012). The previous season low for Emporia State was 67.

ESU also posted a 24.6 shooting percentage after finishing 15 of 61 from the field. The percentage was the worst recorded in a game since at least the 1999-00 season (ESU’s game-by-game statistics date back to the 2000-01 season). The previous season low was 36.7 percent.

Emporia State also shot 22.2 percent (4-for-18) from downtown and 62.5 percent (10-for-16) at the free-throw line.

The team did not have a player score in double figures for the first time this season. Desiree Wylie led with nine points, and Amber Vandiver finished with seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Leading scorer Laura Patrick, who entered the game averaging 15.1 ppg, was held to just eight points. Merissa Quick was averaging 11.6 ppg and she finished with just five, while Kionna Kellog averaged 10.2 ppg but was held to just four.

Northeastern State shot 38.3 percent (18-for-47) from the field, 33.3 percent (5-for-15) from downtown and 72 percent (18-for-25) at the charity stripe.

Junior guard Fontana Tate led NSU with a game- and career-high 23 points. She also registered nine rebounds. Freshman forward Che’Ron Lewis added 12 points and five assists.

The scoring began when junior guard Chelsey Beathard connected on a three-point shot on NSU’s opening possession. Lewis and Tate added five more points for the home team as Northeastern State jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead.

Emporia State kept the lead in single digits and was able to dwindle the deficit down to 25-24 at intermission. The score marked the first time all season ESU trailed at halftime, and the 24 first-half points were a season low.

NSU did not panic coming out of the locker room, however, as the home team used a 9-1 run to lead 34-25 with 15:42 remaining in the contest.

The Lady Hornets cut the lead down to seven, but a 7-0 run gave the RiverHawks their first double-digit lead of the contest. NSU led by as many as 18 points in the second half and clamped down on defense, never allowing the road team to get any momentum going on offense. Northeastern State did not look back after taking its lead into double digits, and the green and white was able to coast to the 15-point victory.

The Lady Hornets are the highest-ranked team to fall to NSU in school history. The RiverHawks have also now won three straight against ESU.

Northeastern State will now head out to Topeka, Kan., for a 5 p.m. showdown Saturday with Washburn.

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