Defense Propels Pirates into Conference Final
The Southwestern Pirates defeated the Austin College Roos 72-57 on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the SCAC Women's Basketball Championships in Sherman, Texas. The Roos led at halftime 34-31, but the Pirates won in the end due in large part to their stifling pressure defense.
The game started off with both teams scoring in bunches. Southwestern was hot right out of the gate and got an early 5-0 lead on a three pointer from Valerie Logan and a lay-up by Annie Bourne courtesy of a Chelsea Leeder steal. Seven minutes into the game, the Pirates extended their lead to 10 after Audrey Garcia hit from beyond the arc. Not to be outdone, the Roos went on a 10 point run that included a trio of layups and a three pointer to tie the game at 14-14 with seven minutes left in the half.
Leader gave the Pirates a 31-29 lead on a three pointer with just over a minute to go before the break. On the ensuing possession, Brianna Harvey made a layup for the Roos with 0:42 left on the clock to tie the game. Southwestern followed with a miss on a layup opportunity. As time was running out, Erin Riley connected on a deep ball to give the Roos a 34-31 lead at halftime.
The Pirates came out firing on all cylinders to begin the second half. The smothering defense carried Southwestern to a 50-37 lead with just over thirteen minutes to play. Leeder hit three 3's and made a layup for 10 points during the run. However, the Roos responded with a 10 point run of their own to cut it to 50-47 with just over ten minutes left in the semifinal.
Over the next six minutes, Southwestern went on a 16-0 run to separate themselves from Austin College. Again Leeder caught fire and contributed eight points during the scoring flurry. The Pirates were able to hold on for a 72-57 win and secure a spot in the finals.
The Pirates' defense forced 27 turnovers including 10 steals to propel them to victory. Chelsea Leeder led all scorers with 29 points on 10-15 shooting and was 6-8 from behind the arc.
Southwestern advances to face Trinity University in the SCAC Championship finals on Sunday, February 24th at 12:00pm in Sherman, Texas.