HARROGATE, Tenn. — The Lady Railsplitters were met with heartbreak at Tex Turner Arena on Wednesday night. Lincoln Memorial overcame an 18-point second-half deficit before succumbing to the Anderson Trojans in overtime, 71-64, in the quarterfinals of the South Atlantic Conference tournament.
The Lady Railsplitters (16-11) entered the contest riding a four-game winning streak and on the fringe of earning a berth to the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Lady Railsplitters were tagged ninth in the most recent NCAA Southeast Region ranking, but Wednesday’s result likely ends Lincoln Memorial’s season. Anderson (16-13), meanwhile, advances to the SAC semifinals. The Trojans are the defending tournament champion.
The Trojans jumped out to an early 10-2 advantage just 3:35 into the first half after Lesley Woods canned a three-pointer, but the Lady Railsplitters charted off an 8-2 run — capped with a jumper by Britney Guy at the 12:48 mark — to trim the deficit back to 12-10. Lincoln Memorial kept it tight over the next passage of play as Kalasia Green knocked down a jumper to close Anderson’s lead to 19-16 with 8:25 remaining in the half. But Woods scored the first five points of a 7-0 run that lifted the Trojans back to a 26-16 cushion.
The Lady Railsplitters trailed 29-19 at the break, and Anderson extended that lead with a 10-2 run in the first 6:19 of the second half. Jasmine Franklin scored seven of the Trojans’ 10 points over that flourish, which dug LMU into a 41-23 hole. Lincoln Memorial took a huge chunk out of that lead by scoring 11-unanswered points, led by Katrina Ottesen’s seven points, over a 3:56 stretch. The Lady Railsplitters continued to chip away at the lead, making it 47-45 on an Aisjah Roan free throw with 4:42 remaining in regulation.
The Trojans fended off the Lady Railsplitters’ final push for a short time, extending the lead back to 51-46 on a Sierra Simpson jumper at the 2:18 mark, but Lincoln Memorial rattled off five-straight points to tie the game with 1:36 to play. Anderson logged a 4-1 advantage at the free-throw line over the next 1:14 to assume a 55-52 advantage with 22 seconds remaining, but Guy briefly staved off defeat for the Lady Railsplitters with a three-pointer at the 14-second mark to send the contest into overtime.
The first three minutes of the extra period saw the Lady Railsplitters and Trojans meet in three ties. Samantha Satterlee broke a 62-62 stalemate with a bucket at the 1:37 mark, but the Trojans closed the contest on a 9-0 run to earn a 71-64 victory. The Lady Railsplitters mustered only one shot attempt in the final 1:30 while committing four turnovers. The Trojans, meanwhile, went 6-for-6 at the charity stripe and added a Woods’ three-pointer over that stretch.
Lincoln Memorial finished with a 39.3 percent mark (24-for-61) from the field, pulled down by a 32.1 percent clip in the opening stanza. The Lady Railsplitters hit only six of their 17 three-point attempts and 10 of their 19 free-throw attempts. Lincoln Memorial committed 16 turnovers that were converted into 23 points for the Trojans.
Juniors Satterlee and Roan paced the Lady Railsplitters with 15 points apiece. Roan also contributed five steals, five boards and three assists. Guy racked up 12 points and five assists in 25 minutes off the bench, while Ottesen hit two more three-pointers to accumulate 10 points in 26 minutes. Senior MaRanda Boddie filled out her stat sheet with four points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
Simpson carried an Anderson attack that finished shooting 42.1 percent (24-for-57) as she poured in a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Woods pitched in 14 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Jasmine Franklin lifted the Trojans off the bench with 13 points in 23 minutes. The Trojans finished with a 43-33 advantage on the glass and assisted on 16 of its 24 field goals.
The Lady Railsplitters finished the 2013-14 campaign with the most wins for the program since the 2003-04 squad racked up a 21-8 record under current athletic director Roger Vannoy. LMU’s third-place South Atlantic Conference finish was the highest seeding for the women’s program since the school transitioned to the SAC from the Gulf South Conference in 2006.