Lee Women Drop Overtime Loss In NCAA South Region Semifinals
Lady Flames End Season With 24-8 Record
Saturday, March 10, 2018
In another thrilling postseason battle between two conference foes the Lee women’s basketball team’s historic season came to a tough end on Saturday night, falling to Valdosta State, 61-57 in overtime.
The Lady Flames held a nine-point advantage with 2:30 remaining after Abby Bertram nailed a 3-pointer but the Blazers ended regulation on a 9-0 run to force the game into an improbable overtime period.
The run was jump started by a questionable offense foul on the Lady Flames when they were up nine with the ball with just two minutes remaining.
From there the Blazers took advantage and nailed a pair of 3-pointers and forced a couple of turnovers to take back the momentum.
Bertram had a chance to give the Lady Flames the victory in the final second of regulation but her shot just missed off the iron.
Senior Erin Walsh finished her brilliant four-year career with 13 points and moved to No. 6 on Lee’s all-time scoring list with 1,824 points. Carrie Cheeks tallied 11 points before fouling out in the waning seconds of regulation. Lindsey Roddy added nine points and five rebounds and Bertram ended with seven points.
“We didn’t execute well down the stretch. We had a tough call go against us but we still had chances to finish the game off in regulation,” said head coach Marty Rowe. “Valdosta is a good team and made some plays but I’m certainly disappointed things didn’t go our way. We just didn’t make enough big plays down the stretch. We had it and let it get away and I hate for our kids but that happens sometimes in this game.”
Bertram went coast to coast and made an off-balanced shot in the lane at the buzzer to end grind it out first half and pull the Lady Flames within one at 25-24.
Lee was forced to play all but four minutes of the half with all-conference forward Carrie Cheeks on the bench with two quick fouls.
When asked about her improvement as a player over her career Cheeks noted, “I set a goal to try and get better each and every year and be one of the best post players in this league. My coaching staff did a great job of helping me reach the goals and be able to be one of the top forwards in such a talented league.”
Maddi Mitchell, a GSC all-conference selection, led the Blazers with 22 points and had nine rebounds. Taylor Buie added 12 points and seven rebounds while Kayla Bonilla put in 13.
“At this point in the season when it gets down to the final 32 you have to be sharp for 40 minutes and we were really sharp for 38,” added Rowe. “Everyone should be really proud of our program and this team because we had a great run. These seniors are so special to me. They are fighters and I’m so proud of them. Our program is built off of relationships and these are very special girls who gave it their all.”
The Blazers held a 37-28 advantage on the glass and grabbed 11 offensive boards. Lee limited Valdosta to just 33.3 percent shooting but they did hit 10 triples. The Lady Flames finished 41.5 percent from the field.
In a similar situation to yesterday’s game Lee struggled to take care of the basketball and ended with 18 turnovers. The Lady Flames forced the Blazers into 16 floor mistakes.
“This has been a great year and I’m glad we were able to accomplish all that we did during my senior year,” said Walsh.
The Lady Flames special season ends at 24-8 overall. Valdosta State improves to 23-8 and advances on to the NCAA South Region Championship to meet the winner of No. 1 seed Union and No. 4 seed Embry-Riddle.