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Blaikley Crooks
Freedom High School grad Blaikley Crooks led the Bears with 19 points.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Outlasts Wingate in Overtime

Down 20 points in the second quarter and 16 points at the break, the Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball sealed the comeback with a 67-64 overtime victory over Wingate in the regular season finale. The Bears forced 24 turnovers in the second half and overtime to help erase the large halftime deficit. Blaikley Crooks led all scorers with 21 points on the night as the comeback victory sealed a top-two seed in next week’s SAC Tournament where the Bears will look to defend their crown

Cold shooting was the story of the first half as the Bears hit just six field goals in the half for 19% from the floor. Wingate held the Bears to just seven points in the first quarter as Wingate had a 18-7 lead after one. Bulldogs opened a 20-point lead in the second quarter as the Bears largest run in the first half was just three points. Crooks had eight of the the Bears 18 points in the half, including her 1200th career point.

The second half was pure chaos as the Bears forced 24 turnovers in the second half and overtime. LR still trailed by 10 points heading into the fourth quarter as a 3-pointer by Maleiya Hill with 35 seconds cut the lead to ten. A 13-1 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter gave the Bears their first lead as Courtney Field hits a jumper with 2:47 left. The game was back and forth for the rest of the quarter as Emily Harman and Crooks hit back to back jumper to give the Bears an one point lead with 34 seconds left. After a Tilda Lindstrom free-throw, the Bears had a two point lead with ten seconds left. However, Jaia Wilson drills both of her free throws to force overtime for the second straight time here in Hickory between these teams. The Bears had control the whole overtime as LR had a 65-60 lead with 58 seconds left but the Bears gave Wingate a chance missing four of six free throws late. However, Emily Hege’s three-pointer at the buzzer fell short as the Bears came back for the victory.
The Bears biggest lead of the day was the 65-60 lead in overtime.

The Bears were out-rebounded 52-35 on the night. However, LR held Wingate to just 2-11 from long range on the night.

Fields, Hill and Jayda Glass each had three steals on the night as LR had 18 steals. Harman had 14 points and added four assists. Crooks lead the Bears with 21 points while Hege lead the Bulldogs with 18.

Crooks becomes the 16th player in program history to score 1200 career points.

Wingate has won 8 of the last 10 in the series between these programs. The two wins, both OT victories by the Bears, were in Hickory.

The Bears are off on Saturday as the rest of the SAC has one last day of games. The Bears at worst will be the No. 2 seed in next week’s SAC Quarterfinals.

LR is 21-7 overall, 16-4 in the South Atlantic Conference. The SAC Tournament will start on March 5th. The Bears seeding and game time will be announced on Saturday night.