Nelson leads Metro into regional semis
Amy Nelson went to work inside, and that, eventually, opened up the outside for Metro State.
With the Roadrunners’ 5-foot-11 forward scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds Friday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional women’s basketball tournament, Metro State withstood the Rattlers’ early burst for a nail-biting 58-55 victory.
The sixth-seeded Roadrunners (21-9) play second-seeded Midwestern State (25-5) at 5 tonight in the semifinals.
“The guards did a good job seeing what was open, and they did a good job letting me know where I was open,” Nelson said. “They just did a really good job getting me the ball, and we took advantage of that.”
After Metro’s Emily Wood hit two big 3-pointers and Jackie Woods answered for St. Mary’s, Metro led by one, 55-54.
That’s when Cassie Lambrecht hit her only shot of the night, a 3-pointer with 1:49 to play, for a 58-54 lead.
Metro adjusted to St. Mary’s attacking offense, cutting off penetration and forcing the Rattlers to settle for jumpers.
“Not having the luxury of really knowing this team, they’re very athletic and very good at getting to the rim,” Metro State coach Tanya Haave said. “We really wanted to force that pass out. We were more in the gaps than we usually are. It was imperative that we guard the paint from that penetration.”
After Nelson missed a free throw with nine seconds left, the Rattlers had one more chance to extend the game.
Woods curled through the lane and got the ball near the top of the key, and her 3-pointer to tie it was right on line. It hit the back of the rim, though, and bounced off.
“It’s NCAA basketball,” St. Mary’s coach Jason Martens said. “We started off on a run, they made a run, back and forth, back and forth. They made the last run and ended up winning the game. My girls played hard, my goodness, they played hard. We just came up three points short.”
Kristin Valencia finished with 14 points, and Wood had 10 for Metro State. Felicia Jacobs led St. Mary’s (22-7) with 18 points, and Woods had 14.
Midwestern St. 91, Tarleton St. 78: Andrea Carter led Midwestern State in scoring and rebounding — and for an encore, helped slow down the South Central Regional player of the year.
Carter had 23 points, 16 rebounds, blocked two shots and helped double-team Kiara Wright, who scored 26 of her game-high 30 points in the second half as the TexAnns rallied from an 18-point first-half deficit.
Midwestern State (25-5) raced to a 44-29 halftime lead, but Tarleton, in its fourth game against the Mustangs, relied on Wright and some clutch perimeter shooting to get back in the game.
Peyton Adamson hit a deep 3-pointer and was fouled, completing the four-point play with 8:15 to play to tie the game at 67-67.
The Mustangs, though, kept attacking the basket, getting several shots to roll in and drawing the foul. And when the shot didn’t fall, Midwestern hit free throws, steadily building the lead back to 10 points, 85-75, with 2:35 to play on a 3-pointer by Kirsti DeGelia.
Dianna Jones scored 19 for the Mustangs, DeGelia 14 and Ashley Rush 12.
Brianna Bledsoe scored 17 of her 19 points for Tarleton (19-10) in the first half.
Texas-Permian Basin 70, Abilene Christian 68: Teisha King took the ball the length of the floor and passed off to Taniqua Ards, whose layup with two seconds left propelled the Falcons into tonight’s semifinals against Colorado Mesa University.
Permian Basin (21-7) came back from a 40-36 halftime deficit, taking the lead midway through the second half when Naderra Carey hit a jumper. It was never more than a four-point game from that point on, and after Giselle Loya hit two free throws with 17 seconds left, the Falcons were up 68-65.
Abilene Christian (21-7), which is moving up to Division I next year, got a clutch 3-pointer from Kynzie Newman with 11 seconds left to tie the game, but the Wildcats couldn’t get back on defense quick enough to stop the ball from getting into the paint. Ards was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but Abilene couldn’t control the rebound, and it went out of bounds to the Falcons.
Briannah Matthews finished with 18 points, King 15 points and nine assists, and Ards 11 points for Permian-Basin, which got 18 rebounds from Clarissa Davis.
Abilene Christian got 16 points each from Sadie Dickinson and Kelsey Smith, who also had 13 rebounds, and 13 points from Renata Marquez.