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TWU Basketball heads to NCAA

The LSC Conference ends with a loss, but team advances to NCAA tournament

Nadiyah Suleiman, Page Editor

creditunspecifiedCA63D58IThe Pioneers fell short in the Lone Star Conference Championship semi-finals with a loss to ASU; however, for the first time in TWU history, they received an at-large bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association South Central Region Tournament.

TWU had a strong winning season with an overall record of 21-9, LSC record of 10-6 and a 11-3 non-conference record. The Pioneers went on to win their first LSC Championship game against Cameron University on March 3, with a 78-75 score. It was close game with both teams tied for nearly eight minutes in the third quarter. Junior Forward Emily Spector led the team with 16 points off the bench, and Junior Center Erin Maxwell held a game-high 11 rebounds. This was the third consecutive season that TWU has advanced to the LSC Championship semifinals.

In the semifinal game against Angelo State University, ASU came out strong, leading the game by nine points. TWU fought back strong and led in scoring in the third and fourth quarters. Ultimately, ASU came back for a close win of 63-70. Junior Guard Kenesha Saygo scored a game-high of 22 points and shot 4-for-8 from the three-point range. Spector led with a team-high of 11 rebounds.

The Pioneers performed well on and off the court this season with four members of the basketball team receiving 2015-2016 Lone Star Conference postseason honors. Maxwell was named LSC Defensive Player of the Year, and First-year Guard Kara Mitchell was named Freshman of the Year. Saygo was chosen for the second consecutive time to the First Team All-Conference and Maxwell gained honorable mention. Maxwell and Sophomore Forward Alexis Nezianya were both named to the All-Defensive Team.

Maxwell was also named the 2015-2016 LSC Women’s Basketball All-Academic Team; this is her second one this season. She was named the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team last February. Her cumulative GPA is 3.93 and she is ranked second on the team, scoring 11.1 points each game with a shooting percent of 47.0 from the floor.

Overall, the TWU Basketball team has had a strong season and will continue on in the NCAA South Central Regional Tournament. Within the eight-team regional tournament, the Pioneers are seeded eighth. Kicking off during March Madness, they will play against the host Lubbock Christian University in the second session of the opening round.

The winner of the tournament will continue on to the Elite Eight, which will be hosted at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD, March 22-23.

Tuesday, March 8, the Athletics Department hosted a Send Off for the Pioneers on the East side of Pioneer Hall. Free pizza and drinks were provided as students rallied to support the Pioneer’s advancement into the 2016 Division II Women’s Basketball Championship. Keep watch on the Pioneers’ progress throughout the tournament to support their development.

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