JACKSON, Miss. (Feb. 24, 2019) - The Rhodes women's basketball team completed one of the biggest runs in Southern Athletic Association (SAA) Women's Basketball Tournament history by winning the league title over defending champion Oglethorpe, 56-41, Sunday inside the Hanger Dome on the campus of Millsaps College.
With the win, the Lynx earned the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Lynx head coach Lauren Sumski became the first individual to win an SAA title as both a player and coach. Sumski was part of two SAA Championship teams for the Lynx in 2013 and 2014 as a student-athlete.
Rhodes' run through the tournament started in the fourth quarter against Birmingham-Southern in the quarterfinals. The Lynx outscored the Panthers 23-7 to eventually move into the semifinals by a score of 63-43. A day later, the Lynx rallied back to defeat SAA regular season champion and tournament host Millsaps in the semifinals, 71-68, in overtime.
Sunday, the Lynx wasted little time taking control of the championship contest. Rhodes opened the game on a 14-2 run and the Lynx would eventually lead by as much as 15 with 8:35 left in the second quarter. Oglethorpe rallied back and pulled within seven points with 8:02 to play. The Lynx opened the game once more with an 8-2 run and stretched their lead back to 14 with two free throws by Kiera Downey with just over a minute to play. From there, Rhodes held on to win its fourth SAA title (2013, 2014, 2015, 2019).
In the championship game, Lindsey Whiteside posted her second double-double of the season in as many games, tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds while Downey also totaled 13 points with a game-leading three assists. Alyssa Owens recorded 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds while Allie Young totaled 10 points and six rebounds. Moriah Muhammad put up four blocks and brought down five rebounds to help extend her college playing career. The Lynx, despite committing six more turnovers than the Stormy Petrels, shot 37% in the field and made 13-of-15 free throw attempts.
The Lynx, who are 16-11 overall, find out where and who they play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with the release of the bracket and selection show on Monday, February 25 at 2:30 ET on NCAA.com.