Courtesy: Emporia State Athletics
SEARCY, AR -The sixth ranked Lady Hornets were down six points with 3:26 left but hit three straight three-pointers capped by Addie Lackey’s make with .8 seconds left for a 71-68 win over Northern State in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional Tournament in Searcy, Ark.
The Lady Hornets fell behind 11-2 to start the game and would not take the lead until Kyrstie Miller hit the second of back to back three-pointers with play with 1:09 left in the game. Emporia State shot just 26.3% in the first quarter while the Wolves converted at a 57.1% clip in the first ten minutes. Northern State led 18-17 after the first quarter, 32-28 at the half, and 49-42 going into the fourth quarter.
Northern State, the NSIC Tournament Champions and eighth seed in the regional, led 61-55 with 3:26 left in the game. The Lady Hornets still trailed by four with two minutes left when Kelly Moten got a defensive rebound and went coast to coast for the hoop and the harm with 1:33 left to pull within a point at 63-62. Paige Waytashek scored inside to put Northern State back up 65-62 with 1:18 left. Lackey then found Miller in transition and she nailed a three-pointer with 1:09 left to tie the game at 65. Kathryn Flott pulled a defensive rebound and Moten found Miller for another three-pointer with 36.7 seconds left to give Emporia State a 68-65 lead. Gabby Laimer answered with a three pointer of her own for Northern State to tie the game at 68 with 23.6 seconds remaining. The Lady Hornets worked for a last shot and Moten found Lackey on the right wing and she connected on a three-pointer with 0.8 left for a 71-68 Emporia State lead. The Wolves had one last chance with ball advanced to half court, but Jessica Wayne blocked Brianna Kusler’s three-point attempt at the buzzer to preserve the win.
Kelly Moten led all scorers with 24 points and added five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block. She was joined in double figures by Kyrstie Miller with 16 points and Addie Lackey with 14 points. Kathryn Flott had a game high nine rebounds to go with seven points. Jessica Wayne had a career high five steals as Emporia State’s 18 steals were the most since getting 19 in an 89-58 win over Ft. Hays State on Dec. 9, 2006 in White Auditorium.
The Lady Hornets have advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Regional Tournament for the seventh straight year and tenth straight tournament they have been a part of. Emporia State will take on the winner of friday’s quarterfinal game between Central Oklahoma and Pittsburg State in the semis on Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. in Searcy, Ark.
The Lady Hornets, the nation’s leader in rebound margin, were outrebounded 44-26 in the game. It is the worst rebound margin for Emporia State since Missouri Southern outrebounded the Lady Hornets 51-31 on Jan. 6, 2010 in Joplin, Mo. in a game the Lady Hornets won 55-52.
Moten’s 24 points give her 1,911 in her career as she becomes just the fourth Lady Hornet with 1,900 career points. She needs four points to tie Emily Bloss (1915 from 1997-2001) for third on the Lady Hornets all-time scoring list.
Moten now has 499 assists and needs one to tie Kristie Nelson-Lackey (500 from 1986-90) for fifth on the Emporia State career list. She has 104 blocks and needs one to tie Casey Henningsen (105 from 2003-07) for eighth on the Lady Hornet career list.
The Lady Hornets are now 39-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with a 32-11 record in regional play.