Sat, Mar. 17, 2012 - [Women's Basketball]
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Women's Basketball program was carrying one of its most successful seasons into this year's NAIA National Tournament. With a 28-3 record, the Patriots drew a #2 seed in the tournament and faced the Rogers State University Hillcats in the opening round. A game that went into the early hours on Thursday morning, the Patriots fought hard until the final buzzer, but came up short in the end falling to the Hillcats 80-73 in overtime.
The game was a back and forth struggle for UC. After starting the game going 0-9 from the three point line and an injury to point guard Jade Howard (Salyersville, KY) in the first half, the Patriots found themselves trailing at half by a score of 24-29.
The Patriots came out a little sluggish in the 2ndhalf as Rogers State scored 6 straight points, but then the Patriots went on a run of their own. Seniors Lauren Wombles (London, KY) and Haley Ratliff (Pikeville, KY) led the Patriots on a 14-1 run to give them a 2 point lead with 13 minutes to play. From there on it was a back and forth battle.
With 8.2 seconds left in regulation, Ratliff took the game in her own hands and successfully ended a drive to the lane with a layup to tie the game at 63 apiece and send the game to overtime, the fourth overtime game of the day.
Although the Patriots started off the overtime period well, it was Rogers State prevailing hitting 7 of their final 8 free throws with 52 seconds remaining in the game to give them the 80-73 victory over the Patriots. Ratliff ended the game with 12 points and 8 rebounds playing over 42 minutes in the game. Wombles was the tournament highest scorer in day one finishing with 35 points and 7 rebounds. She also went an impressive 12-13 from the free throw line in the game.
The Patriots season comes to a close with a 28-4 overall record and two MSC Championships. Head Coach Melissa Irvin, her staff, and the team already have their sights set on another run to the NAIA National Championship for next season.
For more information on the Patriots women's basketball program as well as other Patriot athletics, please visit http://www.cumberlandspatriots.com.