skip to Main Content
Blaikley Crooks
Freedom grad Blaikley Crooks led the Bears with 16 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Advances to Semifinals of Conference Tournament

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball team used a 13-0 run in the third quarter to defeat Tusculum 80-56 in the SAC Quarterfinals. The win was the Bears first SAC Tournament victory since the 2018-19 season as the Bears will advance to Saturday’s SAC Semifinals, hosted by Furman University. The 24-point victory was the largest win for the Bears in their SAC Tournament history as a season-high six Bears reached double figures lead by 17 from Blaikley Crooks

It was a low scoring first quarter as both teams shot under 40% and it was tied at 12 after ten minutes of action. After only scoring 13 points in the first 15 minutes of action, Tusculum scored 13 points in the last 5 minutes thanks to 11 points off the bench from Alyssa Walker.

The first half was as even as you can get but the Bears had a slight advantage as LR shot 34% in the first half while Tusculum shot 32%. LR had seven turnovers while Pioneers had eight and most importantly took a two point advantage in the point column heading into halftime. A balanced attack for the Bears in the first half saw four players with four points while Azariah Fields and Crooks had six points.

The third quarter was all LR as the Bears used a 13-0 run to open up their biggest lead of the game. Jalen Gathers had seven points while Emily Harman added six points during the run. The Bears defense held the Pioneers to just four field goals in the third quarter as Tusculum shot 4 of 21 from the floor.

LR took a 52-34 lead into the final frame as the Bears hit 9 of 18 in their big third quarter as LR outscored the Pioneers 24-8 in the quarter. Hudson scored 12 points in the second half while going perfect from the floor and the free throw line as the Bears did not allow Tusculum to make a run. Tusculum went 0-13 from long range in the second half and 2-23 for the game.

Six Bears scored in double figures lead by 17 from Crooks. Fields had 14 points and six rebounds. Hannah Stull had 10 points, seven rebounds and two huge blocks. Harman joined Stull with a team high seven rebounds, Harman added 12 points including six points during the 13-0 run.

This is the 4th all-time meeting between programs in the SAC Tournament. All three meetings took place between 2009 and 2013. The Bears won the first matchup in 2009 but the Pioneers defeated the Bears in the semifinals in both 2010 and 2013. This is the first matchup being played in Greeneville through. LR snapped a three-game SAC tournament losing streak and moved to 16-29 all-time.

The Bears remained in fourth in the newest Southeast regional rankings that came out before the game. The selection show is Sunday March 6th at 10:30 pm.

The Bears are 22-7 and will face Catawba in the SAC semifinals from Greenville, S.C. on Saturday. Tip-off is schedule for approximately 2:30 PM, which is thirty minutes after the first semi-final matchup.