COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - For the first time since 2015, the Southwestern University women's basketball team will play for a conference title. The Pirates won their fourth straight game including their ninth in the last 11 contests, defeating the No. 2 seeded and co-regular season champion Austin College 'Roos 81-79 in an overtime thriller.
Southwestern shot 28 of 62 (45%) from the field including 7 of 17 (41%) from deep. Austin College shot 33 of 71 (47%) from the field and 8 of 19 (42%) from deep. The Pirates won two key stats, only committing nine turnovers on the night to Austin's 11, and getting to the free throw line 29 times while the 'Roos only got to the line nine times.
The Pirates bench was huge as well, outscoring the Austin College bench 21-10. Southwestern also had 16 assists as a team despite losing the rebounding battle 44-36.
The two teams were even throughout the first quarter with Austin College claiming a 17-15 lead after one. Sophomore Cecily Woolfolk showed early on that she was going to be a force in the post, scoring eight in the first period alone.
The 'Roos built their lead in the second quarter, holding the Southwestern offense in check in taking a game-high 32-23 lead with three minutes to play in the half. The Pirates stormed back to get within four late in the quarter, but a 3-pointer put Austin College ahead 37-30 at the break.
Similar to the quarterfinal match-up against Schreiner, Austin College started the third quarter well, pushing their lead back out to nine and maintaining it midway through the period, but Southwestern exploded with a 12-2 run to take their first lead since early in the first quarter at 48-47.
Sophomore Naomi Brown made a huge impact off the bench again, scoring four during the run while senior Brooke Swift and junior Kelsey Faykus connected on 3-pointers before a lay-up by freshman Noel Pratts pushed the Pirates ahead.
The two teams battled back-and-forth as they game was tied at 52 going into the fourth.
Austin College immediately went back ahead in the final period. The 'Roos continued to his big shots as Southwestern tried to battle back, but it looked as though Austin College was going to close the game out as they led 71-64 with three minutes to play.
Woolfolk would score four straight points while Swift connected on a huge 3-pointer with a minute to play as Southwestern closed the quarter on a 7-0 run to force overtime. The Pirates had a look at the game winner, but it would fall short.
The two teams went back-and-forth in the overtime period as the game remained even at 77 with two minutes to play. After an Austin free throw put the, ahead by one, Southwestern was the aggressor getting to the free throw as Pratts pushed SU ahead with a pair followed by Swift hitting two free throws for an 81-78 lead.
The Pirates held off Austin College in the final seconds and saw a Ann Savage 3-point attempt fall short as Southwestern pulled off the stunning 81-79 win at Reid Arena.
Woolfolk finished with 24 points including eight boards and two blocks. Seniors Madison Edwards and Brooke Swift lifted the team throughout the second half, each scoring 12 with Edwards adding six assists. Edwards scored 10 of her 12 points in the fourth quarter alone. Pratts added 10 points off the bench while Brown finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Junior Kelsey Faykus played outstanding defense on SCAC Co-Player of the Year Bryce Frank as Faykus finished with eight points, 11 rebounds, and two steals. Frank did scored 23 points but on 24 shots while turning the ball over four times.
Savage led the 'Roos with 24 points and eight rebounds while Ally Longaker scored 17 points.
For a team that was 5-9 at one point in the season including 1-4 in SCAC play, the Pirates have made a complete 180 and will take on Trinity University in the SCAC Championship Game. It is the same squad the Pirates met in 2015, a game SU won 71-58, their first SCAC title since 1997-98. It was a team Edwards, Swift, Renee Walker, and Madison Lasater were apart of as freshmen.
Tip-off will follow the men's contest, but is set for 3 PM (CT).
In one of the weekend's most thrilling games, @SUPirates came out on top, upsetting No. 2 seed Austin College to advance to the #SCACwbb Championship game tomorrow. We spoke with Head Coach Greta Grothe and senior guard Brooke Swift after the game �� pic.twitter.com/BDYKMa2JpN— SCAC (@SCAC_Sports) February 25, 2018