Shelton State holds off another upset bid from ASA-New York for 69-67 overtime victory
LUBBOCK, Texas – When No. 2 Shelton State needed her the most, Tcheneavia Knight came up big.
Knight scored 18 of her team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including the game-winner with 5.7 seconds left in overtime, and the Lady Buccaneers held off another upset bid from 23rd-seed ASA-New York with a 69-67 win in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship at Rip Griffin Park.
“I felt like I had to take over,” Knight said. “Then again, I knew coach wanted the ball in my hands and of course my team was counting on me and I couldn’t let them down. We realized everything was (close to) coming to an end and we just had to outplay them, be smarter, make better plays and then stop them on defense.”
Shelton State (32-1) was able to do what No. 10 seed Cowley County and No. 7 seed Daytona State had failed to do in the previous two rounds, keep ASA-New York (22-3) from running away in overtime. By doing so, the Lady Buccaneers advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history and will face either Salt Lake Community College or Trinity Valley Community College at 7 p.m. CDT Friday for a shot at playing in the title game.
Both teams had a chance to win in regulation. A Knight jumper from the left elbow put the Lady Buccaneers up by one at 58-57 with 13.7 seconds left but still gave ASA-New York one last chance at pulling off its third straight upset.
Stephanie Davis was called for an offensive blocking foul on the ensuing inbound pass, eventually sending Shelton State to the free throw line with a chance to extend its lead. But Gabrielle Nicholson hit just one of two, and Kailey Echols fouled Sakara Torres, allowing Torres to tie the game at 59 with 6.6 seconds left to play. Nicholson had a shot from the corner to win but missed, sending the game to overtime.
Shelton State got two quick baskets to start overtime but ASA answered with three free throws and a pair of buckets from Torres. Her 3-pointer with 37 seconds left knotted the game at 67 after Knight’s driving layup a few seconds earlier had put the Lady Buccaneers up by three.
Knight then delivered the dagger, escaping around tight defense at the top of the key to hit a 15-foot jumper with 5.7 seconds left to put the Lady Buccaneers by two. Shelton State then smothered ASA-New York, not allowing the Lady Avengers to get off a shot attempt before the buzzer, securing the win.
Torres led the Lady Avengers with 22 points while Diandra Darosa added 21 and Mary Cuevas 13 in the losing effort.
“We got into overtime and I’m pretty confident in overtime,” ASA-New York head coach Thomas Davis said. “(Knight) hit some big shots for them … and then we don’t get a shot up. We fought, eight players, and I can’t be made at them. I don’t know about the seeding and I don’t know about how good the other teams are. But I think other teams know who we are.”
Just like they’ve done their first two games of the tournament, the Lady Avengers came out attacking from the opening jump. This time, however, they did most of their damage in the paint.
ASA hit just 2 of 13 from the 3-point line in the first half but were a solid 12 of 21 inside the arc, and that led to outscoring Shelton State 18-10 in the paint. Darosa, who has had two 20-plus point games, had 11 points in the first half despite going 0 for 3 from 3-point range.
Shelton, meanwhile, struggled to keep pace, shooting just 30 percent (9 of 30) from the field and 28.6 percent (4 of 14) from the 3-point line.
The Lady Avengers used a quick 7-0 run to establish a lead and maintained it all throughout the first quarter. Then, a 7-0 run in the second quarter allowed ASA to push that lead to 28-18, and Shelton State spend the rest of the first half chasing before closing to within 35-27 at the end of the quarter.
Nicholson and Meredith Lovelady led Shelton State with six points each and were a combined 4 of 13 from 3-point range.
ASA-New York led by as much as seven in the third quarter but Shelton State closed the period with a 5-0 run to pull within one and set up the frantic sprint to the finish.