Lane 49, SW Oregon 44
For the second time in three seasons, the Lane Titans are headed back to the title game of the NWAC tournament. Lane advanced after beating SW Oregon 49-44 in an all-Southern Region semifinal game on Monday evening.
Lane ended the first half on a hot streak, scoring the last nine points of the half to take a 29-19 lead into the halftime break.
Jordan Kimbrough might have led the Titans in scoring with 12 points, but in the final few minutes, it was a team-effort which propelled Lane past SW Oregon after the Lakers had gone on a 13-3 run to get within 40-38 with 5:21 to play.
The Titans got an acrobatic fast-break layup from Keeli Munkres, catching and shooting the ball while in the air to restore a four-point advantage. The next time down the floor, Maddie Kiplinger hit a huge three to put Lane up 45-40, at which point the contest turned into a free-throw game the Titans were well equipped to handle.
Bre DuBois and Erica Cogburn each hit a pair of free throws in the final 22 seconds to ice the game and preserve the victory for Lane.
Kiplinger finished with 11 points, and had half of the Titans' three-point makes by herself.
SW Oregon's Yvonne Daniels led all scorers with 14 points in the loss, which knocked the Lakers out of the running for what would have been the first title in school history -- men or women. SW Oregon has never finished better than eighth, and will play the loser of the Peninsula-Umpqua game on Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m., already guaranteeing the best place at the tournament the Lakers have ever seen.
Lane will take on the winner of the Peninsula-Umpqua game in the NWAC title game on Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. An NWAC championship for Lane would be their fifth, a league record. The Titans are currently tied with Skagit Valley, Chemeketa and Columbia Basin with four championships. [stats]