Basketball (W)

Locklear's 33 not enough as Women's Basketball falls 77-75 in SAC final

HICKORY, NC -- Freshman Leslie Hinkle made two free throws with five seconds left, and Shea Blacknell stole the inbounds pass to lift third-seed Lenoir-Rhyne over top-seed Catawba, 77-75, in the championship game of the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament at Catawba Valley Community College on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Bears (18-11) earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional Tournament, which begins Friday at a site to be determined. Catawba (24-6), the fourth-ranked team in the region heading into the championship game, will likely receive an at-large bid. Tournament pairings were to be announced Sunday night. It feels really good. We wanted to peak at the right time, said Barefoot, whose team has now won six straight games and 10 of their last 12. The attitude was they didn't want to die and give it all they've got. Lanica Williams led Lenoir-Rhyne with 22 points, while tournament MVP Maya Grady had 16 points, five rebounds and four steals. Kim Small added 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Hinkle chipped in 11 points. Catawba's Danyel Locklear led the Lady Indians with 33 points and 13 rebounds, doing most of her damage in the second half. She picked up three fouls in the first half and played just nine minutes, scoring four points. Danyel is a great, great player, Barefoot said. We were trying to limit her to one shot. We were going after Danyel in the first half, and trying to get her in foul trouble. Locklear powered her way in the second half, scoring 14 of Catawba's first 20 points in the second half to give the Lady Indians a 53-49 lead with 12 minutes left in the game. Lenoir-Rhyne retook the lead at 54-53 on a 3-pointer by Williams, but Catawba answered with a layup by Dorthell Little for a 55-54 lead with 10:27 to play. The Lady Indians didn't trail again until Hinkle's free throws. Another tip-in by Locklear with 3:27 to play gave Catawba a 74-68 lead. Lenoir-Rhyne was able to cut the lead by hitting seven of eight free throws down the stretch. They hit some big shots, we missed some big shots, said Catawba coach John Duncan. We just couldn't get a break. But we gave it our best shot to the buzzer. We went a little cold. I don't know if we were playing more conservatively, but we talked to them about that and not committing silly fouls. We violated both of those rules. They took advantage of mistakes we made. Joining Grady on the All-Tournament Team were Locklear and Cox from Catawba; Kristi Ferris, who had 28 points in an opening round victory over Tusculum and 19 points in a two-point loss to Catawba in the semifinals; and Andrea Fitzgerald of Carson-Newman, who scored 48 points in two games. #####

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