Pippa Passes, KY: The Alice Lloyd College Lady Eagles got a career game from freshman guard Haley Hall and the league’s first triple-double of the year from senior guard Kayla Wilson, and defeated the Point Park University (PA) Lady Pioneers 94-85 in the quarter-finals of the River States Conference Tournament. The thrilling, overtime barn-burner took place at the Grady Nutt Athletic Center on February 21st before an excited crowd.
On January 27th, PPU strolled into Caney Creek and handed the Lady Eagles an 80-73 defeat, so head Coach John Mills was pleased to see the hosts get off to a quick start. In the early minutes, Alice Lloyd got two quick bombs from sophomore forward Jayla Spurlock and jumped out to an 8-2 lead with 6:11 remaining. However, the experienced Pioneers would close the quarter on a 21-9 spurt to take a 23-17 advantage after ten minutes of play.
In the second quarter, ALC opened with six quick points to tie things at 23, and then would get five points from Hall during an 11-4 run to edge ahead 34-27. Once again, the guests fought back. Using the inside-out punch of Sam Weir and Michelle Burns, PPU fought back to knot things at intermission, 38-38. The game was anyone’s for the taking.
The third period saw a reinvigorated Alice Lloyd squad inch ahead by seven points (54-47), propelled once again by two buckets from Hall, only to watch their foes storm back to tie once more. Spurlock would eventually sink a late free throw and enable the Lady Eagles to enter the last stanza clinging to a 59-58 lead.
In the final quarter, the visitors scored the opening bucket before the home club put together an 11-2 burst behind a combined 3 trifectas from Spurlock and Miranda Wilson. The Lady Eagles had their biggest lead of the night (70-62) with 6:44 to play and seemed poised to finally put away their adversaries.
Unfortunately for the home fans, PPU had no intention of going down easy. Propelled by six points from Burns, Point Park promptly reeled off 10 straight points. Suddenly, with 3:00 to play, ALC trailed 72-70.
Kayla Wilson and PPU’S Baylee Buleca traded hoops before Hall came through with a clutch bomb to put the hosts ahead 75-74 with 2:00 showing. After a defensive stop, Miranda Wilson banked in an incredible driving layup while being hammered to the ground. Her old-fashioned three-point play gave her club a 78-74 advantage at 1:44.
After Weir’s drive cut the deficit to 78-76, ALC’s Alexandria Clifton was called for an offensive foul which nullified her bucket. The Lady Pioneers would then find Maryassa Agurs whose drive would tie things at 78 as the game went into the final minute.
On their next possession, Coach Mills would set up a play for Kayla Wilson. However, her three-point attempt came up short and Point Park received the ball back with a chance to win.
In need of a defensive stop and with the game on the line, the Lady Eagles came through with their best series of the night. Unable to get a good look at the hoop, the visitors would call a timeout with 5 ticks on the shot clock. On the inbounds play, ALC’s relentless defensive effort forced Pioneer Tyra James to throw up desperation 25-foot shot that was not close. The relived crowd was pleased to see overtime (78-78).
In the extra period, PPU got the tip but Hall stole the ball and raced down court for a contested layup to put her club up once more (80-78). After Point Park tied things (80-80) on their next trip, Hall came through big again. She rammed in 8 points as her club closed the contest on a 14-5 explosion to finally chalk up the contest in the win column.
For the victors from Caney Creek (23-4), Hall poured in a career-high 31 points while sinking 5-10 from deep. She added 11 rebounds to complete the double-double and added 3 steals.
Spurlock was steady on both ends all game long and added 19 points while also sinking 5-10 bombs. Clifton recorded her own double-double as she scored 16 points and grabbed 11 boards.
Miranda Wilson joined the double-double gang as she pumped in 14 points and snared 10 boards. She completed her night by adding 6 assists and 5 big steals. Not to be outdone, Kayla Wilson merely became the first player in the conference this season to record a triple-double. She stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. She threw in a couple of steals for good measure. This is also believed to be one of the few triple-doubles in school history.
After the contest, an obviously pleased Coach Mills spoke of his team’s plan. “While preparing for this game, we knew we had to win the battle of the 12-foot space surrounding the goal. It was critical that we limited their penetration and contained the looks of Weir who is one of the top interior players in the league. We also knew that we had to battle them on the boards and I am thrilled we were able to control the glass like we did.”
The victors finished the night shooting 43% (34-79) from the field including 33.3 % (12-36) from behind the arc. They sank 63.6% (14-22) from the charity stripe 62 huge rebounds, 23 assists, and 11 steals.
PPU (17-11) closed their fine season led by Burns with 25 points. Her squad shot 38.4% (33-86) from the field and 38.5% (10-26) from deep. They finished at 64.3% (9-14) from the charity stripe and added 37 rebounds, 10 assists, and 12 steals. The 25 rebound deficit was simply too much to overcome.
ALC returns home on Saturday, February 24th in the semi-final round of the River States Conference Tournament when they host the powerful 22-9 Indiana University-East Lady Red Wolves and their two-time, conference player of the year, Tia King. The ALC mentor knows his club is in for a challenge. “This game is against an opponent that has been nationally receiving votes all season and possesses an All-American level player. They are a veteran club with two of the top five players in the conference. We know we have our work cut out for us, and we really need the support of our fans to help us in the battle. I do know that we will leave everything on the floor Saturday afternoon.” Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm. The winner will advance to the conference championship on Tuesday, February 27th.