Milligan runs by Lady Rams 68-55 in AAC Quarterfinals
The opening tournament game was Bluefield's first loss out of three games against Milligan
Sports Information Department BC
February 22, 2012
Bluefield College Athletics
Sports Information Department
Bluefield, Virginia- The Lady Rams couldn't get enough firepower going on Wednesday night as the Lady Buffaloes stole the show defeating Bluefield 68-55 in AAC quarterfinal action at the Dome Gymnasium.
Bluefield (#3 seed) never led the entire contest against the 'underdog' Milligan Buffaloes (#6 seed). In fact, the closest they ever got was two points on a few earlier instances in the first half.
Milligan jumped out to an early 16-8 lead, then Bluefield began to turn the ball over which gave the Buffaloes even more opportunities at the basket. Milligan took advantage of the lackluster defense on the perimeter as the Buffaloes shot 5-8 from 3-point land in the first ten minutes of the game.
Half-way into the first half, Coach MJ Baker called a timeout to help alleviate the pressure Milligan was putting on Bluefield. The Lady Rams came out of the timeout and went on a quick 8-0 run to narrow the deficit to only six points, 24-18 with 4:57 to play in the half.
The Lady Rams continued to put on the pressure with consecutive baskets off of Milligan missed shots. Robson, McNeal and Simmons all got baskets late in the half and drew the game to just a two-point Milligan lead with 1:57 to play. Unfortunately, the Lady Rams gave up two quick transition baskets to Hill and Kelly and the Lady Buffaloes increased their margin to seven at the half, 29-22.
Bluefield didn't have much trouble with Milligan during the regular season as the Lady Rams disposed of them in both meetings by double-figures. Tournament time can be another story though. The Lady Buffaloes shot lights out from floor and from three. They went 9-20 from behind the arc, just under 50%.
In fact, Milligan used a combination of nice outside shooting and scrappy post play by Weddle to extend their lead early in the second frame. The Lady Buffs opened the half on a 7-0 run on Bluefield to make it a 14-point lead only four minutes in.
Milligan had four players in double-figures including a respectable performance by Chelsey Weddle, who came off the bench to lead the team in scoring. Consistent shooting helped Milligan build onto their lead, but Bluefield's large bench saw some quality minutes as well. The Lady Rams used a short second half comeback to make it just an 11-point margin after a great three-point play by Destiny Tolliver.
With 10:00 to go, the Lady Rams were unable to slow down the hot shooting and struggled to find easy baskets themselves. Bluefield shot just 35% from the floor, and only connected on five three's in the contest.
Late in the contest, the Lady Rams held strong not allowing Milligan to get too comfortable as the Buffaloes took a victory on Bluefield's home floor, 68-55.
Overshadowed, but certainly not overlooked, Senior Takieya Rouse hit the 1,000 point career mark for Bluefield College Women's Basketball during the second half of Wednesday's quarterfinal contest. Rouse becomes the 2nd player (Gillard) this season to reach the milestone in their career.
The Rams NAIA postseason ends on a bittersweet note, as the team set several program records in their history in the 2011-2012 season. But the team was sure looking to extend play into March for a chance to make the NAIA National Tournament and represent the AAC along the way. With the drop, the Rams still can use their current 19 wins to qualify for the NCCAA National Tournament in March in Winona Lake, Ind.
More information will be available in regards to their possible qualifying stages for the national tournament at a later date.
BC High Scorers: Gillard (12), McNeal (11) and Simmons (11).