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Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Wins the 2022-2023 South Atlantic Conference Tournament.
Lenoir-Rhyne Women's Basketball Wins the 2022-2023 South Atlantic Conference Tournament.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball Wins SAC Tournament Title

For the third time in program history, the Lenoir-Rhyne Women’s Basketball team captured the SAC Tournament title as the Bears defeated Anderson 63-59 to win their first title since the 2009 season. Emily Harman had a double-double with 18 points and twelve rebounds while Azariah Fields added 14 points and nine rebounds. The Bears also punched their ticket into the NCAA Tournament and will await their seeding on Sunday night.

Harman had ten first quarter points including a three pointer to break the tie at 17 to put the Bears up for 20-17 with 35 seconds left in the first quarter. LR raced out to a double-digit lead with an 11-0 run to open the second quarter. Anderson did not score their first basket until 4:05 left in the period.

Despite the 35-27 lead at the half, LR only shot 37.1% from the floor. Hannah Stull and Harman each had ten points as the duo hit 7 of 12 in the half.

The Bears defense held the Trojans to just 33.3% shooting from the floor and held Anderson off the glass with only had three offensive rebounds for a team that entered the game averaging 14.9 per game. Harman had a double-double in the first half as the junior had 10 rebounds to go with her 10 points.

After watching the Trojans cut the lead to five, the Bears responded with a 6-0 run to close the third quarter while holding Anderson scoreless for the last 3:46 of the period. LR opened a 13 point lead in the 4th quarter but Anderson kept chipping away at the Bears lead. Five straight points from Anderson’s Diamond McDowell cut the lead to 54-52 with 3:54 left.

Blaikley Crooks then hit a tough turnaround jumper to extend the lead back to four but McDowell got an offensive rebound and put back to cut the lead to two again. That was the closest Anderson got as Megan Landsiedel hit a corner three with 2:28 left to give the Bears a 59-54 lead.

Both teams went scoreless until Harman used a high pick and roll from Brandi Hudson to get to the rim for a layup with 28 seconds to give the Bears a seven point lead. Harman then hits both free throws with four seconds left to give the Bears their third title in program history.

Harman lead the Bears with 18 points and twelve rebounds. Fields was one rebound shy of a double-double as she finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Stull was the third Bear in double digit with 13 points.

This is the fourth trip to the SAC Title game and the Bears are 3-1 in championship games. Before this game, the Bears won the championship in 2003 and 2009 before falling in the 2014 title game.

LR is now 1-2 against Anderson in the SAC Tournament, but LR swept the three games with Anderson this season.

Harman was named tournament MVP and joined Blaikley Crooks and Hannah Stull on the All-Tournament Team.

L-R is 24-7 overall. The NCAA Selection Show will be held Sunday at 10:30 p.m. as the Bears will wait their draw for next week’s NCAA Tournament, their sixth appearance in program history.