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Women’s Basketball Claims First-Ever Conference Crown

Women’s Basketball Claims First-Ever Conference Crown

DECATUR, Ga. – With a 65-54 victory over four-seed Agnes Scott in the Great South Athletic Conference (GSAC) Championship, third-seeded Pine Manor won its first-ever women's basketball conference title and just the second conference championship in any sport.

Junior captain Alexis Lee (Akron, Ohio), who averaged 12.5 ppg and hit a big three to get her team into the title game, was named the GSAC Tournament MVP.

Pine Manor improves to 13-9 this year and Agnes Scott finishes its season at 8-14.

Senior Natasia Franklin (Windsor, Conn.) helped extend her final season with a team-leading 17 points. Freshman Erica Jones (Atlanta, Ga.) contributed nine points and had a team-high eight rebounds.

The Scotties got a big contribution from sophomore Brittany Howard (Winterville, Ga.) who had a game-best 18 points. Howard and classmate Miranda Arnold (Kennesaw, Ga.) each had a nine rebounds, a game-high.

The Gators jumped out to an early four-point lead as they spread the ball around with four of the five starters each contributing points.

Agnes Scott tied the game at nine when Howard made a layup, but the Gators responded with an 8-0 run that was capped off with a three-pointer from Shaquanda Middleton (Savannah,Ga.).

Pine Manor was able extended the lead to ten halfway through the period as Franklin drained a pair of free throws.

Little by little the Scotties worked their way back into the game. A pair of Howard free throws got the tournament hosts within three with less than a minute to play. They stole an inbound pass with 1.3 seconds left on the clock and had a chance to tie it, but Arnold missed the desperation three. The teams went into halftime with Pine Manor leading 34-31.

Coming out of the break Jones made a layup to extend the Gator lead to five, then the Scotties went on a run. They scored the next six points and took their first lead since the opening possession when sophomore Care Bacon (Ellenwood, Ga.) hit a jump shot.

The next six minutes were tightly contested with Pine Manor clinging to a one-point, 45-44 lead. The Gators then scored the next nine to extend their lead back to 10. Bacon scored to end the run, but freshman Sabrina Vail (Lowell, Mass.) responded with basket from downtown to give the Gators their biggest lead of the afternoon, 57-46.

Pine Manor answered almost every shot the Scotties made down the stretch. They stormed the court as time expired to celebrate their historic accomplishment.

The Gators will find out who they will play in the first round of the NCAA tournament on during Monday's selection show at 2:30 p.m. It will be streamed live and can be viewed here.


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