3/3/2013 11:35 PM
by WVU Tech Sports Information
MONTGOMERY, W.Va. – The WVU Tech women’s basketball team punched their ticket to the 2013 NAIA National Championship Tournament this afternoon defeating top-seeded Robert Morris University 74-71 to claim the 2013 A.I.I. Division I Championship.
The Eagles from Robert Morris jumped out to an early 10-6 lead in the first five minutes of the game to pin the Golden Bears into missed second-chance opportunities and early foul trouble for Golden Bear Roche Wimberly. The squad pushed back to capture its first lead of the game when Nia Nolan, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, made an open three from the corner with 11:30 remaining in the half.
Each team traded bucket-for-bucket for the next four minutes before the Blue and Gold went on a scoring tare. The Golden Bears score 12 consecutive points to increase their lead to 37-25 with three minutes remaining in the half. WVU Tech’s lead reached its height of 14 with under a minute remaining before intermission. The Eagles powered back to score three points before the end of the half to send the Golden Bears into the intermission with the 40-29 lead.
The Eagles opened the second half with a 15-9 run to bring the Golden Bear lead down to five. They continued to force Golden Bear turnovers through a full-court press that brought them to within one point (55-54) midway through the closing half of the contest. This slim lead was the closest the Eagles would come to victory on the afternoon. The Golden Bears, behind the defensive press by Nolan and sharp shooting of Amber Tully and Courtney Sturdivant reignited the Blue and Gold who went on to the 74-71 victory over the top-seeded Eagles.
“The feeling is wonderful. It’s what we have been working for all year,” stated head coach Jenna Everhart. “I’m so proud of our seniors and all of our kids. Everyone stepped up. We had some big moments from everyone on our bench. It’s been a process and learning a system and putting your own stamp on things. We had some great new additions this year and solid returners. We have 10 great kids who all play and contribute.”
Sturdivant led the Golden Bears with 21 points, two rebounds, and six assists. Tully, who received All-Tournament honors, contributed 18 points and eight rebounds in the victory. Robert Morris guard Celeste Jones led all Eagles with 15 points and five rebounds.
While seniors Amy Gardner, Tully, and Sturdivant all played their final game in front of their home crowd, they will now lead the Golden Bears when they return to action in two weeks when they travel to Frankfurt, Kentucky to participate in the 2013 NAIA National Tournament. For up-to-date information on the NAIA Tournament and other WVU Tech Athletics, visit http://www.GoldenBearAthletics.com.
-Courtesy WVU Tech Sports Information