Walters State wins defensive battle in outlasting Midland College, 42-41
LUBBOCK, Texas – Ant’Treasia Patton scored 13 points in a low-scoring, defensive battle, and No. 8 seed Walters State held off Midland College, 42-41, in a second-round clash at the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship Tuesday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Midland (27-7) had a shot to tie the game late, but Lisa Kaempf missed one of two free throws with 2 seconds left, and Walters State (33-0), which blew a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, was able to run out the clock to remain undefeated on the season. The Lady Senators advance to the Elite 8 to face No. 1 seed Gulf Coast on Thursday at 1 p.m. CDT.
“We played extremely hard, but I thought the last five minutes we played about as dumb as a team could play, and we just got lucky,” Walters State head coach Dave Kragel said. “Throughout the game and in some of the timeouts I kept telling them they were playing so hard that something good was going to happen, and it did. We got out and got about a 10-11 point lead, and then I guess we thought Midland was just going to hand it to us.”
Trailing 39-29 with just over 7 minutes to play, the Lady Chaparrals began chipping away at the Lady Senators’ lead, getting a 3-pointer from Morgan Ashton to kickstart an 11-0 run that put Midland up 40-39 with 1:22 to play.
But about 20 seconds later, Patton hit her fourth and final trey to put the Lady Senators back in front for good.
Walnatia Wright led the Lady Chaps with 13 points.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well. Midland hit just 27.5 percent (11 of 40) from the field while Walters State was 26.7 percent (16 of 60). Midland kept it close by hitting 16 of 29 from the free-throw line, but needed one more to make a difference.
“I’m really proud of our effort and our defense. Defensively we did exactly what we’re trying to do,” Midland coach Ron Jones said. “Truth of the matter is you’re not going to miss layups and shoot in the 20s from the two and the three and survive this time of year. I’m proud of this team and they’ve been a really enjoyable group to coach and that’s the most disappointing part of it is we’re through.”
Defense – or perhaps just a lack of shooting – defined the first half for both teams. Walters State shot just 20.6 percent (7 for 34) from the floor in the first half, but Midland College wasn’t much better and had even played a game on the floor on Monday. The Lady Chaps hit just 23.8 percent (5 of 21).
What helped put the Lady Senators over the top in the first half was hitting 4 of 12 from the 3-point line. But their 20-18 halftime advantage didn’t come until toward the end when they used a 7-1 run to get control of the game.
Midland came out of the gates playing well, taking the game to Walters and getting to the free-throw line in taking a 9-4 lead. But Walters State closed in with a 3-pointer from Patton, who would add a second one early in the second quarter to put the Lady Senators up 12-10.
Midland was also its own worst enemy with 11 first-half turnovers and hitting only 7 of 14 attempts from the free-throw line.