February 24, 2013

Sunday: Southern stars clinch

Brittany Atwater's layup gave Guilford the ODAC title over Eastern Mennonite
Photo by Zach Morgan

The South region took center stage on Championship Sunday with seven conferences handing out their automatic bids. Texas-Dallas and Guilford captured the ASC and ODAC titles in dramatic fashion.

Guilford beat Eastern Mennonite 61-59 in a see-saw battle for the ODAC title. After Steph Rheinheimer hit a game-tying three-pointer for Eastern Mennonite with 32 seconds left, the Quakers found Brittany Atwater for the game-winning layup.

Texas-Dallas rallied to beat No. 24 Louisiana College 67-63 and clinch its first ever trip to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats led by 13 early in the second half but Texas-Dallas fought back and took the lead 61-60 with two minutes to play. After the Wildcats tied the game at 63, Katie Korioth found Morgan Kilgore for the Comets' game-winning basket.

Christopher Newport beat Ferrum 70-55 for the USA South Athletic Conference's automatic bid. The Captains started the game on a 10-2 run and started the second half with a 10-0 run to pull away from the Panthers.

  First time's the charm: Women's teams
  securing their first NCAA tournament bid

  Cornell: MWC
 
FDU-Florham: MAC Freedom
 
Huntingdon: GSAC
  Lancaster Bible: NEAC
  New Paltz State: SUNYAC
  St. Scholastica: UMAC
  Texas-Dallas: ASC

Trinity (Texas) held off Southwestern 77-65 to win the SCAC title. Lauren Avant scored six points in 44 seconds to lead Rhodes past Millsaps 66-64 in the Southern Athletic Association's first women's basketball championship game. As a new conference, the SAA does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament but Rhodes has a strong resume for at at-large bid into the tournament.

Four of Transylvania's starters scored double-figures but Katie Gahimer and Alicia Hopkins scored a combined 51 points for Hanover, and the Panthers topped the Pioneers 83-66 in the HCAC final.

Sarah Collins saved her best performance of the season for her last game against a NEWMAC opponent. The All-American scored 32 points and controlled the boards as Babson defeated Wellesley 66-55. Collins and her fellow seniors completed a four-year undefeated stretch in NEWMAC play.

No. 6 Amherst defeated No. 15 Williams 53-38 to take two of three games from the Ephs and the NESCAC's automatic bid. Lancaster Bible defeated Keuka 67-63 to win the NEAC title and clinch its first bid to the NCAA tournament. This is the Chargers' first year in the Conference.

The last conference championship of the weekend was also one of the most entertaining. In the WIAC title game, UW-Whitewater tied the game late in regulation only to see UW-Stevens Point win in overtime, 76-71. The Warhawks had beaten the Pointers in the teams' previous two meetings this season.

Men's wrapup: Randolph-Macon fights off the bubble

Josh Sanchez scored 34 points in the ASC tournament finale
Concordia-Texas athletics photo

Despite starting the season with three losses, Randolph-Macon is headed back to the NCAA tournament after beating No. 21 Virginia Wesleyan 75-64 in the ODAC championship. The Yellow Jackets shot 55 percent from the field, led by Andre Simon's 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting.

Springfield erased a 14-point halftime deficit against No. 6 WPI and tied the game with 26 seconds left in regulation, but the Engineers seized control in overtime for a 79-72 victory. Ryan Kolb scored 29 points for WPI, one day after scoring the game-winning shot at the buzzer in the NEWMAC semifinals.

Concordia (Texas) defeated Mary Hardin-Baylor 80-76 and became the fourth men's program this weekend to secure its first trip to the Division III men's basketball tournament.  Trinity (Texas) topped Colorado College 60-55 in overtime to clinch the SCAC title and the Tigers' eighth trip to the big dance.

No. 1 St. Thomas made a strong case to enter the NCAA tournament as the overall favorite by rolling over Augsburg 92-65 in the MIAC final. The Tommies shot 58 percent from the field, including a torrid 12-for-20 from behind the arc.

  First time's the charm: Men's teams
  securing their first NCAA tournament bid

  Concordia (Texas): ASC
 
Fitchburg State: MASCAC
 
St. Vincent: Presidents Athletic Conference
  Spalding: SLIAC

No. 2 Amherst completed its undefeated run through the NESCAC with a dramatic 74-73 win over archrival No. 7 Williams in the tournament final. The largest lead for either team was  seven and it was a one possession game for much of the second half. The Lord Jeffs held a 74-71 lead with 25 seconds left when Taylor Epley made a layup for Williams. Amherst's Aaron Toomey was fouled on the ensuing possesion and missed the free throw. Williams grabbed the rebound and missed a layup attempt to win, giving Amherst the championship.

Allen Williamson had 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting for the Lord Jeffs. Epley scored 22 points and Michael Mayer added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Ephs, who are in good position for an at-large bid. Box score

Morrisville State built a big first half lead and held off Wells' rally to win, 74-72. This is the Mustangs' second consecutive NEAC title.

Centre edged Birmingham-Southern 46-44 to win the innaugural men's basketball championship in the Southern Athletics Association. The SAA does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament yet, but Centre has a good chance to receive the Pool B bid to the NCAA tournament. Check back later today for our full NCAA tournament bracket projections.

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