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Basketball / March 2006 / Lady Barons’ season ends in NAIA tourney’s first round
Brewton-Parker College senior guard-forward Tamika Drinks-Holloway (No. 25) completes her front-court steal with a lay-up against Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) sophomore guard Katie Hart for two of her 13 first-half points in the teams' first-round game Thursday, March 16, in the 26th annual NAIA Division I Women’s National Basketball Tournament at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. Drinks-Holloway finished the game with 16 points, but the Lady Barons fell to the Warriors 80-63. (BPC Photo by Terry Gaston)
Lady Barons’ season ends in NAIA tourney’s first round
By Terry Gaston
BPC Public Relations
Brewton-Parker College’s immediate mission for the 26th annual NAIA Division I Women’s National Basketball Tournament in Jackson, Tenn., sounded simple enough.
After getting beaten badly in last year’s first-round game, the Lady Barons wanted to win their opening contest Thursday, which would have resulted in them being the first Brewton-Parker team to advance to the final 16 in four appearances at the last six national tournaments.
However, a yearlong inconsistency of shooting, crossed with an equally determined returning first-round loser from Idaho, put an end to the Lady Barons’ tournament hopes and season.
Lewis-Clark State College, which Brewton-Parker head coach Sheila Simmons had said in the week leading to the game was big and physical – dominated the boards, got the Lady Barons into foul problems and took advantage of its height and size to take an 80-63 victory at Oman Arena.
The Warriors had three players reach double figures in rebounds while out-boarding Brewton-Parker 51-30, a similar problem that plagued the Lady Barons in their first-round loss in 2005 to Azusa Pacific University (Calif.). In that 93-74 defeat, Brewton-Parker was out-rebounded 31-13 in the first half with 13 offensive rebounds.
While the Lady Barons (25-9) and Lewis-Clark State were even in offensive boards at 16 apiece, the Warriors created more possession changes with a 35-14 defensive rebound advantage that also enabled them to overcome 27 turnovers.
Brewton-Parker had 16 turnovers, nearly maintaining its NAIA I-leading plus-14 turnover margin, but the Lady Barons were good on just 30.4 percent (21-for-69) of their shots while allowing L-C State a 51.7 percent (30-for-58) shooting success.
“At times we just couldn’t score and we got out-rebounded, but everything else kind of worked in our favor,” said Simmons, whose team finished the year at 25-9 – the sixth consecutive 20-win season for Brewton-Parker and for Simmons, whose first three years were at Brevard College (N.C.). “We just came up short.”
The Lady Barons came out determined and had a 19-16 lead at the midway point of the first half, with three of the four Lady Baron seniors who had been to three NAIA national tournaments (as freshmen, juniors and seniors) combining for all that scoring.
Guard Ashley little of Lawrenceville had eight points during that run while guard-forward Tamika Drinks-Holloway of Mount Vernon added seven and guard Trivia Richardson of Dublin added the other four points.
But senior guard Dannisha Winfrey of Paterson, N.J., the Southern States Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year and two-time All-SSAC selection, got into foul trouble early and got her third foul – albeit an aggressive charge after she drove 70 feet off a front-court steal – with 5:38 left in the first half and the Lady Barons trailing 28-20.
L-C State responded by building a 36-22 lead, which Brewton-Parker whittled to eight (38-30) with 1:22 left in the half, but the Warriors took advantage of two Lady Baron turnovers in the final 17 seconds to build a 42-30 halftime lead.
“The (struggling offensive) play started back 10 minutes further when we couldn’t score,” Simmons said. “We were playing them even and even got ahead, but at that point when we got down, that really took the life out of us.”
Junior post Aundrea Morrison, the Warriors’ leading scorer, had made just 2 of 8 attempts from the 3-point line all season. But she hurt Brewton-Parker with a pair of treys in the second half, helping L-C State build a 54-37 advantage just 5:05 into the second half.
The Lady Barons fought back, however, closing to within seven at 66-59 with 6:35 remaining, but then Warriors junior post Ashley Baker took over inside on her way to a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
Morrison, meanwhile, had another 3-pointer and a traditional three-point play down the stretch to close out her 30-point, 10-rebound afternoon.
Sophomore guard Jade Fulbright followed with 13 points, and senior guard-forward Cami Kalbfleisch added 10 rebounds to L-C State’s board attack.
“The main thing was Morrison,” Simmons said. “She hit some key shots when we were trying to make a run at the end, and she hit several 3s and just kind of took us out of it. So that was pretty much the ball game. She played big for them.”
Little, a two-time All-SSAC selection and three-time conference All-Academic Team qualifier, paced Brewton-Parker with 20 points with a 6-for-14 shooting effort and was 5-for-6 at the line, where the Lady Barons were 14-for-17 (82.4 percent).
Drinks-Holloway, a three-year All-Conference selection, scored 16 points in her final game with team highs of seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Trivia Richardson, another three-time conference All-Academic qualifier, followed with 14 points and had a team-leading four steals. Guard Tori Williams, the final four-year Lady Baron, had five points and five rebounds.
“The girls gave a good effort, but we just couldn’t get any production out of Dannisha with her being in foul trouble,” Simmons said of Winfrey, whose fourth foul came 3:02 into the second half and cost her more than five minutes of playing time. She never fouled out but only produced two points.
Lewis-Clark State’s tournament dreams ended Friday with a 70-54 loss to Trevecca Nazarene University (Tenn.), the No. 1 seed in the eight-team quadrant and No. 5 ranked team in the final season ratings. L-C State was the fourth seed and No. 9 ranked while 16th-ranked Brewton-Parker was the No. 5 seed.
“The bottom line is there is only one team that is going to end their season with a win, so it was kind of unrealistic to think we could go all the way through, especially with our up-and-down year as far as shooting was concerned,” Simmons said.
“I was hoping we would make a good run at it, make a go at it, get out of the first round, just try to play steady and hopefully meet up with Trevecca and play a good game there, but it was just tough to come out with the inconsistency in shooting which we have had all year.”
All was not lost, however, by far for the Lady Barons, who were second in both the SSAC regular-season standings and the conference tournament. Following a 32-4 season from 2004-05 with seven fewer wins might be considered disappointing to some, but a team’s record does not always reflect its overall success.
“I thought it was a tremendous season,” Simmons said. “Anytime you have 20 wins in a season, with the schedule we played – we played four (NCAA) Division II schools (winning two) and played tough out-of-conference match-ups – with that type of quality competition that we played, it was successful. And we will have several All-Americans on this team (that were to be announced Tuesday before the championship game).”