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Mikeba Jones
Mikeba Jones had 19 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Advance in SAC Tournament

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball team used aN 11-0 run in the fourth quarter to come back and defeat the No. 7 seed Coker Cobras 62-57 in the first round of the SAC Tournament on Tuesday afternoon. Blaikley Crooks scored six of her 14 points during the crucial run as the Bears scored 13 of the games last 16 points to move on to the semifinals on Thursday. The Bears will await the winner of No. 3 Carson-Newman and No. 6 Anderson, who will play on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite both teams shooting over 45% from the floor in the first half, the teams only combined for 56 points. First quarter was played within one possession the whole ten minutes as the Cobras took a three point lead into the second period. Bears did not have a lead until a lay-up from Maleiya Hill with 34 seconds left in the first half as LR scored the last six points of the half. Mikeba Jones led the Bears with 10 points in the first half. Coker had a lot of missed opportunities in the half including going just 3-10 from free-throw line.

The Bears opened their biggest lead at 33-27 with 9:09 left in the third quarter before Coker scored the next six points to tie it back up. In the fourth quarter, it was the opposite as the Cobras opened a six point lead with 8:46 left to go. Bears were trailing 54-49 with 4:04 left to go when they started the game changing 11-0 run as Crooks scored six straight points to give the Bears the lead for good. Layups from Jones and Tilda Lindstrom pushed the lead to six with 1:36 left to play. After Coker hit a three to cut the lead in half, Jones iced it with two key free throws and the Bears will head to the SAC semifinals on Thursday.

Jones had her fifth double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds including 7-9 from the free-throw line. Emily Harman had a dozen points and four assists. SAC freshman of the year winner, Kamari Thompson had 19 points and eleven rebounds for Coker but was limited in the first half with foul trouble. Jayda Glass had three steals as the Bears forced 20 turnovers on the afternoon.

This is the first time the Bears were the No. 2 seed since the 2013 Tournament. Bears beat Coker in the 2014 quarterfinals in Hickory, N.C. That was the only other time these teams faced off in the SAC Tournament before today. Bears move to 19-29 all-time in SAC Tournament. Bears are the defending championships and are looking for their first ever back-to-back tournament championship.

The Bears will await the winner of Carson-Newman and Anderson. The No. 3 Eagles and No. 6 Trojans play on Wednesday at 2:30 PM. The Bears will take the winner on Thursday at 2:30 PM.