Monday, March 7, 2011

LSC Roundup 3-7

UCO Caps Off Bartlesville In Style; Claims LSC Title

Central Oklahoma claimed the first-ever LSC Championship in Bartlesville back in 2008. Thanks to a balanced scoring effort, a 14-0 second-half run and an all-around performance from a star player, UCO made sure it won the last won as well.

In a battle of No. 1 seeds, the Bronchos (28-3) were too strong for Tarleton State once again, running past the Texans 68-52 Sunday in the LSC Championship final game at Bruin Fieldhouse. UCO has now defeated Tarleton seven straight times and nine of the last 10 meetings.

Dauntae Williams was named MVP of the tournament for this three-game effort. Williams scored 14 points, grabbed four rebounds and three assists on Sunday, while teammates Brent Friday and Victor Driver were also on the all-tournament team. Friday led UCO in scoring against TSU with 16 points while Driver added 14 off the bench. Driver entered the weekend averaging 4.5 points but had three straight games of double-figure scoring.

Corin Henry led the Texans (24-5) with 19 points and was TSU’s only representative on the all-tournament squad. Henry led all LSC scorers this weekend with 69 points.

The game was tight in the early going but by the end of the first half, UCO stretched the lead out to seven at 35-28 That was a dangerous spot for the Texans considering Central Oklahoma was a perfect 25-0 this year when leading at the half.

The Bronchos made sure that number went to 26 as they opened the second half with a 3-pointer by Williams to push the 10. Tarleton did trim the lead to two with an 11-3 run.

But that’s when the Bronchos reeled off 14 straight points.

While UCO needed two overtimes to beat West Texas A&M in Saturday’s semifinal game, it was actually Tarleton that looked to run out of steam. The Texans used a remarkable run Saturday in their semifinal game for a 38-point turnaround in a 24-point win over Midwestern State.

In the second half Sunday, Tarleton shot just 22.2 percent from the floor (6 of 27 field goals), including 2 of 14 from beyond the arc.

On the flip side, UCO shot 56.8 percent from the field and was 11 of 18 (61.1 percent) in the second half.

With UCO eventually headed to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, the Bronchos leave the LSC with their fifth championship on the men’s side.

Tarleton State failed to land its second LSC Championship, but as the No. 3 seed in the South Central Regional, the Texans will certainly try to regroup in next week’s tournament.

That event could be possibly be held in Edmond, Okla. with UCO playing host. The Bronchos entered the weekend with a No. 2 regional record, but with three straight wins, including two over ranked teams (West Texas A&M and Tarleton State), UCO could surpass Missouri Southern, who lost to Fort Hays State in the finals of the MIAA tournament.

Regional pairings for the men’s bracket will be announced tonight at at 9 p.m. (CST). The women’s pairings will be announced at 8:30, with both UCO and Tarleton’s women’s teams expected to get bids.

Basketball: Nine LSC teams selected for regional play
Nine Lone Star Conference basketball teams, with five on the women’s side and four on the men’s, were selected to continue their seasons at the South Central Regional basketball tournament the NCAA announced tonight.

Northeastern State will host the women’s tournament March 11, 12 and 14 at Jack Dobbins Field House. Joining the top-seeded RiverHawks in the field are No. 3 seed Tarleton State, No. 5 Central Oklahoma, No. 6 Southeastern Oklahoma and No. 7 Texas Woman’s, who earned the LSC’s automatic qualification after winning the LSC Championship Saturday night.

NSU will play No. 8 seed Texas-Permian Basin in the first round, while Tarleton faces SE, UCO matches up with No. 5 Washburn, and TWU plays No. 2 Northwest Missouri.

The regional champion will advance to the Women’s Elite Eight March 22, 23 and 25 at St. Joseph Civic Arena in St. Joseph, Mo.

The men’s regional will be hosted by Central Oklahoma, who won the men’s LSC title and automatic qualification Sunday afternoon, in Edmond, Okla., March 12, 13 and 15.

Joining top-seed UCO in the field is No. 3 Tarleton, No. 5 West Texas A&M and No. 6 Midwestern State. The Bronchos play No. 8 Texas A&M International in the opening round, while the Tarleton plays MSU and WTAMU takes on No. 4 Fort Hays State. No. 2 Missouri Southern goes against No. 7 Washburn in the other quarterfinal match-up.

The men's tournament culminates with the quarterfinals through finals being played at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass., March 23, 24 and 26.

Pioneers Claim New Territory: LSC Championship
With the shot clock winding down, Kayla Weaver got the ball in her hands, drove the lane and pulled up to drill a 17-footer to give Texas Woman’s University a one-point edge over Central Oklahoma in Saturday night’s Lone Star Conference Championship final at Bruin Fieldhouse.

But it took one more defensive stand and when the Pioneers blocked a shot by UCO’s Alex Richardson, the buzzer sounded, giving TWU its first-ever LSC title in any sport.

Equally important, the Pioneers’ 74-73 win over UCO extends their season, advancing TWU (22-10) to next week’s South Central Regional tournament, another first for the basketball program.

Weaver scored a game-high 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and was named the tournament’s MVP. Jessica Hanna, who had 18 points and also hit the game-winners on Wednesday and Friday night, was on the all-tournament team along with Brooke Shepherd, who scored 20 points Saturday night.

“It’s just a surreal feeling right now,” TWU head coach Beth Jillson said, just moments before she cut down the final strings to the championship net. “This is a huge step for our program and our entire athletic department and the school. To win the first LSC championship for the school is an amazing feeling.”

To win the title, TWU had to win three straight games in four days, beating the likes of West Texas A&M, Northeastern State and UCO, which had beaten the Pioneers 18 straight times before Saturday night.

Before the tournament, Jillson gave a “David and Goliath” speech to her team, and continued the theme all weekend.

“I told the team we had a stone for every giant,” Jillson said. “All three of those teams were ranked ahead of us in the region and some of them in the nation. They are three teams that have been very difficult for us. So it’s just an amazing accomplishment for this program and these kids. I’m so proud of them.”

But Jillson’s level of pride was equally matched by TWU athletic director Chalese Connors, who had to wipe away a few tears of joy when watching Jillson and the Pioneers hoist the LSC Championship trophy.

“Well, it’s pretty hard to explain what I’m feeling . . . because we’ve never done this before,” Connors said. “I’m so incredibly proud of this team – Coach Jillson and her staff and all of these players. They came here with a plan and they executed it. We’re obviously peaking at the right time and I’m just so proud to say that we’re bringing back the conference championship to Denton, Texas and Texas Woman’s University.”

As for her game-winning shot, Weaver said it wasn’t exactly the play called, but with the clock winding down, she was running out of options.

“They were in a zone and we had to run something different,” Weaver said. “When the ball got to me, I heard (the bench) counting down the shot clock so I had to just get something off.”

The go-ahead shot was the 19th lead change of the game but UCO had another shot. The Bronchos gave the ball to lone senior Ashley Beckley, who lost the handle, sending the ball shooting into the backcourt with three players diving for it. A jump-ball possession went back to UCO with eight seconds left. This time, the Bronchos looked for Alex Richardson, who had 28 points and 11 boards. But Richardson couldn’t get a shot to fall under the basket. The ball went to Hanna, who held it tightly as the buzzer sounded and the Pioneers flooded the court with excitement.

For UCO, Beckley had 19 points and Alyssa Fuxa scored 11 and rebounds. Beckley and Richardson were named to the all-tournament team, along with Tarleton State’s Shelby Adamson.

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Lone Star Conference

Angelo State University

Cameron University

Eastern New Mexico University

Texas A&M-Commerce

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M-Kingsville

Texas Woman's College

University of Texas of the Permian Basin

West Texas A&M University

Western New Mexico