March 8, 2008
Northwest Takes Down Top-Seeded Washburn
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State senior Mandi Schumacher scored 14 points and Lauren Williams and Kelli Nelson added 12 each as the Bearcats defeated top-seeded Washburn 59-56 Friday in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
Washburn (23-6) had won the previous three MIAA tournaments, but lost for the second time this season to Northwest (16-13). The Bearcats can earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament with a win in the championship game Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Bearcats sealed the win with six free throws in the game's final minute. Corkey Stiger hit a 3-pointer to make it 58-56 with 7.6 seconds remaining. Williams made 1-of-2 free throws with five seconds left. Washburn couldn't get a shot off before time expired.
Stiger scored 16 of the Lady Blues 26 first-half points, but had the lone 3-pointer in the second half and finished with 19. Amanda Holmes and Janice Bright scored 14 points each for Washburn.
Nelson hit three 3-pointers, including a big one that gave the Bearcats a 53-47 lead with less five minutes to play. Nelson has 71 3-pointers this season, one shy of the Bearcats' single-season record.
Washburn made five field goals in the game's final 13 minutes after taking a 43-40 lead on a 3-pointer by Janice Bright. April Miller and Schumacher combined to score six straight Northwest points. Williams gave the Bearcats the lead for good with a 3 that broke a 47-47 tie at the seven-minute mark.
Northwest outrebounded the Lady Blues 43-35 and committed three fewer turnovers. Miller and Williams had three steals each. Miller scored four points and handed out three assists.
No player from Washburn had lost an MIAA tournament prior to today as the Lady Blues had won 10 straight tournament games. The Bearcats, in fact, were the last team to beat Washburn back in 2004. Northwest went on to defeat Emporia State that year to win the tournament title.
Northwest Head Coach Gene Steinmeyer Post-Game Quotes
"One week ago today I looked my team in the eye and called them underachievers, but then in the same breath I said it only takes one game to become an overachiever. I really think they've done that now. When I said that, I didn't mean to belittle them, but what I really wanted to do is have them know that the season is far from over. They've exceeded expectations after sitting at Fort Hays, six hours from home and facing a bus ride after a loss. The last week of the season we lost our chance at the region and we just put ourselves back in position.
"As far as this game goes, you just got chalk it up to the defense. We put in something new yesterday and I kind of screamed and yelled at them at practice, but Amanda Holmes just killed us with passing in Topeka a couple weeks ago. We tried to neutralize that and did a great job. Then when Coach (Ron) McHenry started bringing Holmes up high so we couldn't do it then we jumped to that zone and the kids did a great job guarding Corkey (Stiger). The big thing is that we got every rebound in that zone. The way they played defense today is what won the thing for us.
"One thing I want to say about Washburn is that they might have lost this game, but nobody's dominated this league like Ronny Mac and Washburn. So to have won a game like this, it makes it a little more special because nobody's dominated like he has and his teams have. The goal of every coach is to be like Washburn. For one little moment here we can enjoy it."
On if Washburn played this way in Maryville earlier this season…
"Today was a boxing match. The officials today were just deadly consistent the way they called it. They were letting it get physical. Every set of officials you have to adjust to. They let it get physical and we took advantage of it."
On the parity of the MIAA…
"Well here's the difference with the league where Washburn and Emporia dominated. It's amazing how they've done it as tough as this league is. We were lucky enough to win it four years ago, but outside of that I think Washburn and Emporia have won it every year since it's been in Kansas City. This year was kind of wide open because Washburn graduated just about everybody and Emporia had a lot of new players.
"Its easy to forget that we led this league for four-and-a-half weeks at the start of the year and then finished 9-9. All it takes is one little hiccup and you go from the penthouse to the outhouse."
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