Second-Seeded Newberry Rallies To Defeat #3 Carson-Newman, 66-56, In The 2010 Food Lion SAC Tournament Semifinals
HICKORY, N.C. – Despite trailing for much
of the contest, second-seeded Newberry (21-7) used an offensive
surge and a 10-point advantage from the free throw line in
defeating the #3 Carson-Newman Lady Eagles, 66-56, in the
semifinals of the 2010 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference
Tournament at Catawba Valley Community College Arena, Saturday
“I’m disappointed in the fact that we executed our game plan in the first half but did not execute it in the second half,” said Carson-Newman Head Coach Dean Walsh. “They took it to us in the second half. We have to do something about that.”
Newberry led early 8-4, but Carson-Newman went on a 16-2 run to lead 20-10 with 10:36 remaining. The Lady Eagles would outscore the scarlet and gray 23-12 in the last 16:41 of the half to take a 27-20 lead into the locker room.
After the break, Newberry scored nine of the first 12 points of the half to close the gap to one at 30-29. The Lady Eagles were able to push their lead back to five thanks to six straight free throws, four of which came from sophomore forward Zoriah Williams (Calera, Ala.), to lead 38-33 with 12:06 remaining.
Newberry took a 43-42 lead at 7:17, its first since 16:13 of the first half but a three-pointer from junior guard Mandy Mendenhall (Kingston Springs, Tenn.) tied the game at 48 with 5:01 remaining. The scarlet and gray responded as junior forward LeAnne Watson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) hit back to back shots to take a 52-48 lead.
With the score 54-53, Newberry reeled off seven straight points to go up by eight with 1:06 remaining in the contest. The scarlet and gray would hold on for the 66-56 victory and a berth in the championship game of the tournament.
“They wanted it more,” said Walsh of Newberry. “We had our chance to put them away in the first half and didn’t do it. They had a lot on the line; they knew they had to win to get into the NCAA tournament and they acted like it.”
While both teams shot below 35 percent from the floor for the game, Newberry held a 16 to 12 advantage on the offensive glass and forced the Lady Eagles into 22 turnovers.
“There’s no excuse for the turnovers. We have to take care of the ball and make good passes,” added Walsh. “We talked about stopping penetration and offensive rebounding, which we did not do. We played soft and scared, there’s no other way around it. It’s inexcusable especially from the upperclassmen.”
Newberry senior forward Anita Bulcher (Russia, Ohio) led all players with 22 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for her 21st double-double of the season and 11th straight. Junior guard Jessica Bearzatto (Melbourne, AUSTRALIA) had 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds as well for the scarlet and gray. Watson and junior guard Helen McKinney (Owensboro, Ky.) each chipped in 11 points as well.
Buford led the Lady Eagles with 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while Mendenhall had 11 of her own. Williams and junior guard Katlin Moore (Fort Mill, S.C.) each had 10 points for C-N as well. Senior guard Ashley Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) had seven points and a team-high six assists.
Newberry will face Tusculum in the final of the 2010 Food Lion SAC Tournament at 4:00 p.m., at CVCC Arena. The winner of the contest will receive an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament.
Carson-Newman will await the pairings for the regional tournament which will be released Sunday evening by the NCAA.