Mon, Mar. 5, 2012 - [Women's Basketball]
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women's Basketball team found themselves in the MSC Tournament Championship game for the third time in four years on Sunday March 4th. The Patriots carried a 27-3 record into the game with one of its losses coming against their championship game foe, the Shawnee State Bears. The Patriots were determined to redeem themselves and that is just what they did with a 73-70 victory over the Bears to claim their third MSC Tournament Title in four years. It is the fourth MSC Tournament Championship for the Patriots since 2004-2005, all under the reign of Head Coach Melissa Irvin.
The Patriots trailed early in the ballgame, but rallied back to take a lead that they would hold onto for a large chunk of time. UC found themselves up by as much as 10 points during the game, and held a 40-33 lead at the break. As the 2ndhalf rolled along, the Bears began to come out of hibernation and got themselves to a position where they took a lead for a short period of time with just over 5 minutes to play in the game. The Patriots rallied back to tie the game at 66-66 with just under two minutes to play when Haley Ratliff (Pikeville, KY) hit a huge three from the right wing to give the Patriots a lead that they would never relinquish. Shawnee State would bring it back within one, but a big field goal by Lauren Wombles (London, KY) and two clutch free throws by Jade Howard (Salyersville, KY) iced the game as the Patriots would take a 73-70 victory for the MSC Championship.
Senior point guard Jade Howard had a remarkable game with 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Senior forward Lauren Wombles also was huge in the game scoring 17 points, snagging 8 rebounds, dishing 3 assists, and snatching 2 steals. Jackie Alexander (Brodhead, KY) also added 11 points to the win.
UC made their way to the MSC Championship by upending the #8 seeded UVA-Wise Cavaliers 73-59 on Thursday in the quarterfinal round. The Patriots then took on the 4thseeded Campbellsville University Tigers on Saturday in the semifinals and took down CU 77-64. This was the first time since 2007-2008 that the Patriots defeated Campbellsville in every contest of the season.
The Patriots won both a share of the regular season MSC Championship and the MSC Tournament Championship in 2011-2012. The Patriots did the same back in 2008-2009, which ended with a trip to the Elite 8 in the NAIA National Tournament.
The Patriots now must wait to hear who they will take on in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. This season, a change in the venue for the NAIA Tournament may benefit the Patriots as they will play the tournament in the same arena that they just won the MSC Title in Frankfort at the Frankfort Convention Center. The NAIA National Tournament will be held on March 14th-20th. Tournament schedule will be released on Wednesday March 7that 7:00 pm.
For more information on the Patriots Women's Basketball program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article by Bo Kidd, UC Multimedia & Athletic Services Sports Statistics & Photography Coordinator.