Lee Women Advance To NCCAA Championship Game
Thursday, March 20, 2014
On a day that senior Hollie German was breaking Lee's women's basketball career scoring record an unusual couple of plays grabbed their share of the spotlight in the semifinal round of the NCCAA Division I National Tournament.
The Lady Flames and Roberts Wesleyan (NY) were deadlocked at 70 when Madison Lee grabbed a rebound after a missed shot by Chelsea Sanders and unloaded a long pass down court to the speeding Myriah Iles. The senior grabbed the ball and delivered an assist to Karley Miller who scored to give Lee the 72-70 game-winner with 10.4 seconds remaining.
Seconds earlier, the Redhawks had surprised the Lady Flames when Sanders put up the 15-foot jumper instead of going inside where she had baffled Lee the entire game. But even after Miller's basket, Roberts Wesleyan still had a chance to send the thriller into overtime or possibly win the game with 10.4 seconds remaining.
However, the New York club advanced the basketball past half court and called timeout with 4.9 seconds left. The inbounds pass that was expected to go to Sanders never came. Instead, the Redhawks were whistled for a five-second violation giving the Lady Flames possession of the basketball.
"The pass by Madison and seeing Karley and Myriah speed down the court was certainly not what I expected," joked coach Marty Rowe after directing his Lady Flames to the championship round and a fourth meeting with Union Universiy, a winner over Azusa Pacific. "But it worked and right now that's all that counts. I'm still trying to figure out how Roberts Wesleyan lost 12 games this year (15-12). They must play in an awful strong league."
Rowe admitted that he didn't realize German had broken the career scoring record but her teammates did. The players on the bench rose to their feet after German drove for the bucket, scored and was fouled some 13 minutes deep in the first half. Her free throw give her 2,272 points and surpassed Vikki Clemmons' career mark. German finished the contest with 21 points and will take 2,280 points into the final game of her career on Saturday afternoon.
"Hollie deserved the record," said Rowe. "She is certainly the best player I have ever coached and her work ethic has been the key to her success. She passed a lot of great players in accomplishing this feat."
Lee took a 36-33 lead to the halftime break but Roberts Wesleyan came out on fire in the second half and grabbed a five-point lead before German scored to tie the game at 57 at the 7:07 mark.
The Lady Flames went on to increase the lead to 64-59 but the Redhawks fought back and took the lead at 68-66 and owned a 70-68 advantage before Jenna Adams scored on a reverse layup to tie the game at 70 with 29.7 seconds remaining.
The wild finish saw the Lady Flames hold on for dear life and score on the unusual play to post their 25th win of the year against just five defeats.
Adams enjoyed a superb performance by canning seven 3-pointers and finishing the battle with 31 points and eight rebounds. "The way Sanders was playing for them (30 points) and the way Marissa) Sell was scoring (18 points, 10 rebounds), we needed that type of performance from Jenna," pointed out Rowe.
Iles not only delivered the game-winning pass to Miller, she also posted 10 important points. Miller had 10 rebounds to go along with her six points, while German dished off eight assists.
Rowe also praised the rebounding effort by his team in the second half and also singled out the overall play of sophomore Melanie Barker, who grabbed four important rebounds and delivered three big assists. "I told the girls at the break if we could out-rebound them in the second half we would have the opportunity to win the game."
The Lady Flames out-rebounded the taller Redhawks 34-30. They also forced 14 turnovers and committed only eight. For the game, Roberts Wesleyan shot an impressive 49 percent from the field but made just 65 percent of their free throws (11-of-20).
Lee shot 43 percent overall and Adams made seven of their nine total 3-pointers. The Lady Flames were only awarded 16 free-throws in the rugged battle and converted 11. Lee turned Robert Wesleyan's turnovers into 17 points and also out-scored the Redhawks in points in the paint 30-22.
German continued her red-hot shooting from the charity stripe. She has now canned 19 of her 20 attempts in the tourney.