Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 23, 2013

NSU women clinch first-round bye in MIAA Championship tournament

EMPORIA, Kan. — The Northeastern State women’s basketball team earned a crucial 66-56 win over Emporia State University Saturday afternoon at William L. White Auditorium.

The RiverHawks (18-7, 13-4 MIAA) currently sit in third place in the league standings and they have now clinched an opening-round bye in the 2013 MIAA Championship. Washburn leads the regular-season race at 15-1 in the conference, and Central Missouri is second at 13-3.

NSU holds tiebreakers over fourth-place Truman State (12-4 MIAA), Pittsburg State (11-5 MIAA) and now Emporia State (16-8, 11-5 MIAA).

Senior guard Taylor Lewis led all scorers with 26 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Fellow senior guard Tosha Tyler scored 13 points, and sophomore guard Chelsey Stricklen came off the bench to score 10. Sophomore guard Fontana Tate grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.

Northeastern State shot at a 44-percent clip (26-for-59) from the field and made 8 of 9 (89 percent) from the charity stripe.

Emporia State was held to 36 percent (21-for-58) from the field, 26 percent (5-for-19) from behind the arc and 64 percent (9-for-14) at the free-throw line.

Laura Patrick paced the Lady Hornets with 14 points, while Rachel Hanf added 10.

The home side quickly jumped on top 5-0, but neither team held more than a three-point lead for the first 13 minutes of the contest following the early advantage.

Emporia State held a 20-19 lead with 11 minutes left in the opening frame, but NSU went on a 12-2 run to jump on top 31-22 at the 6:20 mark. A late triple from Hanf allowed the Lady Hornets to trail just 37-33 heading into intermission.

ESU stayed close to the visitors in the early moments of the second half, but the home side could never get closer than four points. A layup by Merissa Quick at 7:31 brought Emporia State to within four at 52-48, but Northeastern State used a 10-0 run to ice the game.

The Lady Hornets would never again get within single digits as NSU earned the 10-point victory.

In the NSU men’s game, the RiverHawks beat Emporia State, 67-62. Jermaine Bransford recorded 23 points and 20 rebounds to pace the RiverHawks (18-7, 11-6).

The 20-rebound effort was the most by any player in the MIAA this season and was the most for Northeastern State in its NCAA Division II era. Bransford was two rebounds shy of tying the nation’s top mark for most rebounds by a player in a single game this year.

Bryton Hobbs added 14 points to the winning cause. Landon Demasters also scored in double figures with 13 points.

For Emporia State (12-12, 7-9), Terrence Moore led the Hornets with 13 points off the bench. Paul Bunch also contributed 12 points.

NSU outrebounded ESU 33-28, while also winning the turnover battle (11-15). The RiverHawks shot 40 percent (21-for-52) from the field, 46 percent (5-for-11) from distance and 91 percent (20-for-22) at the charity stripe.

The home side shot 46 percent (24-for-52) from the field, 40 percent (8-for-20) beyond the arc and 60 percent (6-for-10) at the line.

Northeastern State returns home for The Farewell to Jack Dobbins Field House. NSU is set to play host to Central Oklahoma on Wednesday (women at 5:30 p.m.; men at 7:30) in the final regular-season game to be held inside the legendary facility.

The Senior Day presentation will be held between the men’s and women’s games. There will also be a presentation to honor those who have been part of the 58-year history of JDF, and NSU’s 2003 NCAA National Championship men’s team will also be celebrating the 10-year history of the historic title run.

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