PITTSBURG (ESU ATHLETICS) – An Addie Lackey layup and a Kelly Moten steal in the final 27 seconds sealed the #18 Lady Hornets 74-68 win over Northern State in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional in Pittsburg, Kan. on Friday. With the win, Emporia State advances to the regional semifinals against #7 Winona State on Saturday night.
RUNS IN THE FIRST
Northern State came out like the NCAA Tourney tested team, scoring the first six points of the game, forcing Emporia State to call a time out with 7:04 left in the first quarter. The Lady Hornets would use three-pointers to get back in, hitting four from behind the arc in the first period to go up 18-16 on a Sandra Ngoie three-pointer with 1:46 left in the period. Emporia State would go on a 13-0 run that spanned the last 2:20 of the first quarter until the 7:19 mark in the second. A16-5 run by the Wolves gave them a 32-31 lead with 1:48 left in the half. The Lady Hornets responded with a pair of three-pointers from Addie Lackey and Ngoie to take a 37-32 lead with 57 seconds left. A Lauren Deadrick free throw pulled Northern to within 37-33 at the break.
PLAYING WITH THE LEAD
The Wolves scored the first four points of the second half to tie the game with 9:10 left in the third, only to see the Lady Hornets go on a 7-0 run to take a 44-37 lead less than two minutes later. Emporia State would maintain the lead for most of the quarter, only to see Northern State close the period on a 6-0 run to pull within 54-53 heading into the fourth quarter. A layup by Deadrick gave Northern State a 55-54 lead to start the fourth quarter. There were three lead changes and three ties in the first three minutes of the final period, with neither team taking more than a one possession lead in that time. Back to back three pointers by Kelly Moten and Ngoie gave the Lady Hornets a 68-61 lead with 5:32 left and forced a Northern State time out.
DOWN THE STRETCH
Both teams traded turnovers and missed shots over the next two minutes until Northern State started a final push. Jill Conrad hit a three and Devon Brecke hit a jumper to make it 68-66 Lady Hornets with 2:19 left. Brecke hit a pair of free throws with 46.8 seconds left to tie the game at 68. The Lady Hornets worked the clock and Addie Lackey scored on a layup with 26.7 seconds left to give Emporia State a 70-68 lead. The Wolves called timeout with 13.1 seconds left with the ball under their own basket. Kelly Moten stole the inbound pass and was fouled with 10.2 seconds left. She hit both free throws to give Emporia State a 72-68 lead. Kathryn Flott pulled down her 14th rebound of the game, was fouled and hit both free throws with 1.1 seconds left to give the Lady Hornets a 74-68 win.
THE GAME IN NUMBERS
Addie Lackey and Sandra Ngoie each scored 16 points and Kelly Moten added 15 for the Lady Hornets. As a team Emporia State set a school record for NCAA Tournament play with 14 made three-pointers as six different players connecting from outside the arc. Lackey and Ngoie each had four which ties for the eighth most by a Lady Hornet in NCAA Tournament action. Kathryn Flott had a game high 14 rebounds, which is tied for eighth most by a Lady Hornet in the NCAA Tournament.
NCAA TOURNEY NUMBERS
With the win, the Lady Hornets improved to 37-16 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and was the 16th time in 18 tournaments that they have opened with a win. Northern State is the 25th different team Emporia State has defeated in NCAA Tournament play. The Lady Hornets are now 30-10 in regional play.
Emporia State will play #7 Northern State in the regional semifinals on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in Pittsburg, Kan. It will be the first time Emporia State and Winona State have met in the NCAA Tournament.