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

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Falls in Overtime in NCAA D2 Tournament First Round

The Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Team saw its 2023-24 season come to a close in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the hands of Georgia Southwestern on Friday night, 62-59. In a game that was played within one possession for the final 21:50, the Bears fell just short. Despite the loss, the program posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Maleia Hill’s 3-pointer with 24 seconds left gave the Bears a 16-14 lead after the first quarter. The back-and-forth first quarter saw neither team lead by more than three. LR shot 7-of-15 in the first 10 minutes while the Hurricanes were 6-of-14.

Blaikley Crooks hit back-to-back jumpers to start the second quarter, with the second being beyond the arc, to make it 21-14 LR and forcing a GSW timeout. A bucket by Mikeba Jones put LR up 27-16 with 6:49 to play in the first half before the Hurricanes battled back.

A trio of 3-point buckets pulled GSW within 31-27 before the half would end on a put back by Kayla Grant to make it 31-29 at the half. Jones finished the first half with 14 points for the Bears and five boards while Crooks had seven. Kori Tomlin led GSW with 11.

Much like the first quarter, the third was played within one possession for all but 15 seconds when LR led by four. Georgia Southwestern would get a breakaway basket to close out the scoring in the third quarter to put them up 44-43 heading into the fourth.

A Tilda Linstrom triple capped a 6-0 run to put the Bears up 51-48 but GSW answered with a three of their own to even it with 4:50 to play. With the game tied at 54, Harman hit a runner with 1:22 to play to put the Bears on top.

The Hurricanes answered with a pair of free throws with 43.1 to go. Each team would miss on their final possession as it headed to overtime.

Georgia Southwestern hit a one of two from the free throw line to go up 61-58 with 25 seconds left. GSW went just 2-of-6 in the final two minutes from the line.

LR was fouled with five seconds left and also went one of two to pull within 61-59. The Hurricanes answered by going 50 percent at the line to take a 62-59 advantage.

The Bears final shot hit off the rim as the Hurricanes pulled off the win.

With her bucket at the 5:16 mark of the third quarter, Harman passed Cameron Sealey for 7th place on the all-time scoring list. Jones finished with 19 points, one shy of tying the program record for most points in an NCAA Tournament game.

This is the second straight year that LR’s season came to a close at the hands of a Peach Belt Conference team in the first round of the tournament. Each of the Bears last two losses this year have come by three points.

This was the first ever meeting between these programs. The Bears are 1-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. This is the second straight year in the tournament for the Bears. It is also the second straight season that Catawba has hosted the Southeast Regional.

LR’s season ends at 22-9.