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No. 4 Nicholls Knocks Off No. 2 SFA for First Ever Tournament Title

first_img“This was a complete buy-in from this team,” Nicholls head coach DoBee Plaisance said. “They’re my warriors.” Barrios again led the Colonels’ charge with 22 points and five boards, joined by three teammates scoring in double figures. Williams finished 4-for-8 from three-point range while Barrios went 3-for-4. A game that saw five fourth-quarter lead changes fell in favor of Nicholls as sharp shooting and defense down the stretch proved the difference maker. The Colonels finished .511 from the field (24-47) while holding the Ladyjacks to .397. With Marina Lilly hitting two free throws with eight minutes to go in the game, the Colonels nabbed their first lead of the game, 56-55. SFA would regain it at the 5:58 mark with a Taylor Jackson triple before Airi Hamilton put Nicholls back up two at the final media timeout. Nicholls opened the third quarter with a Tykeria Williams three to bring the team back to within single digits at 40-31. Another three from her with 7:22 to go in the third closed the gap to the closest since SFA’s opening score at six points. In fitting fashion, she again drained back-to-back threes to make it a two-point ball game at 50-48 with 2:04 on the clock. The Colonels got off to a dreadfully slow start, not scoring until a Cassidy Barrios jumper just three minutes in to make it 7-2. SFA would push the lead to 13-2 at the first media timeout. Led by eight points from Imani Johnson, the Ladyjacks would take a 23-11 after the first quarter. The Colonels weren’t done with their run, as a Barrios trey pulled her team to 55-54 entering the fourth quarter. Williams would ice it at the free throw line as the No. 4 Colonels earned their first ever Southland tournament [email protected]_WBB claims their first @SouthlandSports championship. pic.twitter.com/oh1BKVn0pD— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 11, 2018 Nicholls began to hit its stride through the second period, using a 6-2 run to pull the score to 25-17. The two sides would trade baskets while SFA allowed the Colonels to stay just within striking distance. A comfortable lead remained in the No. 3 seed’s hands however, as Kellogg’s side entered halftime up 40-28. With the score 62-60 in favor of Nicholls with 4:41 to play, Riley Harvey put up a three-pointer and layup back to back to pull SFA back within one with just under 2:00 to go. The Colonels endeavored to slow the game down and another Hamilton layup put them up 68-65, forcing Kellogg to call a timeout with 24.5 to play. “We knew they would come barreling back,” Plaisance said of the game’s back-and-forth runs. “We knew we had to amp it up and keep the pedal to the floor down the stretch.” The 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship bracket will be announced tomorrow on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT. A victorious comeback was not to be though, as the ‘Jacks missed two threes in a row in an effort to tie the game. A near turnover resulted in a foul on Nicholls, giving SFA possession for one last shot with 4.8 seconds to go. However, a five-second violation on the inbound gave the ball right back. “The third period was the difference for us,” SFA head coach Kellogg said. “We lost a bit of our identity after halftime.” “We pride ourselves on those after-timeout plays,” said Kellogg. “We simply didn’t execute on that one when it mattered.” “From the beginning of the season, we had a motto: ‘We’re all we got,” Barrios said. “We knew we were the number one team, and we proved that today.” SFA got three huge performances out of Chanell Hayes (17 points), Imani Johnson (13 points) and Riley Harvey (16 points), but was unable to sustain their lead after halftime. The Colonels put up 26 points in another huge tournament third quarter and held SFA to 15 in the same span. The Player of the Year was off and running yet again, with 20 points to her name after three periods. Led by Williams, the Colonels were a combined 6-for-7 from behind the arc in the third period alone. Box Score | Photo Gallery | CBSSN Replay | HighlightsKATY, Texas – Nicholls women proved that they were not a one-off spoiler team in the 2018 Southland Conference Basketball Tournament. The Colonels capped a huge tournament run with a 69-65 win over No. 2 Stephen F. Austin, earning their first ever NCAA Tournament bid. At the intermission, SFA’s Chanell Hayes led all scorers with 13 while Barrios registered 12 for Nicholls. “It’s another game on the schedule,” said Plaisance. “Let’s check the box. We’ll be warriors and we’re going to fight.”ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMCassidy Barrios, Nicholls (MVP)Stevi Parker, Stephen F. AustinChanell Hayes, Stephen F. AustinTykeria Williams, NichollsImani Johnson, Stephen F. Austinlast_img read more