SHAWNEE — Rogers State’s hopes of leaving the Sooner Athletic Conference with a run to the tournament final was thwarted Friday afternoon inside Noble Complex as the second seeded Lubbock Christian Lady Chaps advanced with a 77-67 victory.
The Lady Chaps built a 13 points first half advantage behind 17 first half points by senior center Kelsey Canavan. The El Paso, Texas native finished with 30 points to tie a career high as LCU led 40-29 at the break.
RSU came out swinging in the second stanza with a 15-2 run to open the period and to take the lead 44-42 with 16:11 remaining. LCU would tie the contest three times over the next three minutes as the Cats were unable to extend the lead beyond one possession.
A pair of Canavan free throws gave the lead back to the Lady Chaps with 11:58 to go in the game, an advantage LCU would hold for a four minute stretch. That’s when Rician Walker hit a field goal off a Logan Froese assist and then drained a pair of free throws on the next possession to give RSU a 59-56 lead with 6:31 on the clock.
LCU fought back and took the lead on a Canvan bucket in the paint and knocked in the free throw to give the Lady Chaps the 61-61 advantage with 3:53 remaining. LCU outscored the Hillcats 13-6 over the final stretch to advance to the SAC Tournament Championship Game for the first time in program history with the 77-67 win.
Froese led the Hillcats with 21 points as the senior forward hit 9-of-14 from the field. Leah Smith and Kelby Fritz dropped in 11 points each as the Hillcats shot just 39.7 percent from the field.
Joining Canavan in double-digit scoring for LCU was Courtney Wilson and Haley Burton with 12 apiece while Emily Atkins tallied 11 before being helped off the court with an apparent knee injury. The Lady Chaps shot 51 percent from the field and won the battle of the boards 38-31. LCU totaled 42 points in the paint while RSU managed just 26 for the game.
Rogers State (23-9) will wait to learn its fate for a national tournament berth to Frankfort, Ky. on March 6 as the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball bracket will be released.