UTPB Advances to NCAA South Central Regional Semifinal 3/16/13
by RYAN HAAGE
UTPB Sports Information
Taniqua Ards broke a 68-68 tie with two seconds remaining in the second half to give #4 UTPB a 70-68 win Saturday night over #5 Abilene Christian at the 2013 NCAA Tournament South Central Regional at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction, Colo.
UTPB took just its second lead of the night and its first of the second half as Briannah Matthews sank a free throw after being fouled on a layup at 9:36 remaining in the game to hold a 58-56 advantage.
Teisha King put the Falcons up by four off of an Ards turnover, and they held a slim two-to-four point lead through the final minutes of the game until Kelsey Smith hit a layup and sank a free throw to cut the lead down to 66-65 with 28 seconds left on the clock.
Giselle Loya hit both of her attempts from the line with 17 seconds left in the game, but the Wildcats went down the court on their final possession and tied the game on a 3-pointer by Kynzie Newman with :11 remaining.
Ards was fouled on her game-winning basket and missed her free throw, but the Falcons retained possession after the ball deflected out of bounds with 1.2 seconds remaining to keep possession with UTPB.
The Falcons nearly had the game get away from them early on in the opening minutes as they fell behind 20-8 six minutes into the first half. UTPB went on to dominate the next four and a half minutes, scoring 13 straight while forcing Abilene Christian into five turnovers and five straight missed field goals.
Ashley Villarreal brought the game back to within one possession on back-to-back 3-pointers, Teisha King hit the back end of a pair of free throws to make it a one-point game, and Matthews hit a layup to give UTPB its first lead of the night at 21-20 halfway through the first half.
Matthews led all scorers on the night with 18 points, hitting 8-of-13 from the field. King nearly ended with a triple-double, scoring 15 points with nine assists to tie her season high and eight rebounds. Clarissa Davis paced all players with 18 rebounds on the night as the Falcons held a decisive 50-39 rebounding advantage and grabbed 18 offensive boards.
The win was UTPB's second of the season over Abilene Christian after scoring a 74-71 road win that kicked off the 2012-13 regular season.
The Falcons advance to face #1-seed Colorado Mesa Saturday night at 8:30 CDT. The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference regular season and tournament champion defeated Fort Lewis 74-48 earlier Saturday night on its home court. The Mavericks finished the season ranked 4th in the country with and are 29-1 on the season.