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Emily Harman
Emily Harman led the Bears with 17 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

L-R Women’s Basketball Advances to Title Game

For the first time since 2014, the Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball team will be heading to the SAC title game as the Bears took out the No. 1 seed Catawba 68-63 on Saturday afternoon. Emily Harman led the Bears with 17 points while Hannah Stull added 14 points and seven rebounds. LR will face Anderson Sunday at 1:00 PM as the Bears are looking for their third SAC title in program history.

The Bears came out hot from the floor shooting 64% to open a 23-18 lead after ten minutes. Megan Landsiedel had eight first quarter points for LR. Ten second quarter points from Jaylan Downs got Catawba back in the game while Lyrik Thorne scored with three seconds remaining to give Catawba their first lead since 2-0.

Catawba took a 39-37 lead into halftime. Landsiedel and Harman led the Bears with eight points apiece as the Bears shot 54% from the floor in the half.

Despite shooting just 23% in the third quarter, the Bears cut the lead to 53-52 after thirty minutes. LR did not turn the ball over the entire quarter while forcing four in the period to help cut the lead despite the 3-13 shooting. The whole second half was played within one possession until the final two seconds of the game.

The biggest run of the whole second half was the Bears 5-0 run capped off by a Stull layup with 2:28 left to give the Bears a 64-61 lead. The teams combined to go 0-4 on their next two possessions before the Indians made a layup with 28 seconds left to cut the lead to one.

With the shot clock off, Catawba was forced to foul which landed Harman at the line. The junior connected on both to give LR the 66-63 lead with 17 seconds.

Thorne, the SAC player of the year, had a chance to tie it but her three pointer fell well short before falling out of bounds for the Bears possession with 2.1 seconds left.

After a Catawba foul, Crooks drained both her free throws to send the Bears to the title game for the first time since 2014.

Harman lead the Bears with 17 points while playing all 40 minutes. Stull had 14 points and added a team high seven rebounds. Crooks was the third Bears in double digits as the junior added 13 points including the final two free throws to ice it.

This is the first matchup in the SAC Tournament since the Bears defeated Catawba 77-75 to win their first SAC title in 2003. LR is now 4-7 in semifinal games and 17-29 all-time in the SAC tournament.

Harman and Crooks have started all thirty games this season. The Bears are now 4-0 against ranked opponents this season.

The Bears will battle Anderson for the SAC title Sunday. Tip-off from Greenville, S.C. is scheduled for 1:00 PM.