UMHB clinches tournament spot
Monday, 25 February 2013 by Matthew Girard
With the help of back-to-back wins for just the second time this year, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women's team punched its ticket to the American Southwest Conference tournament last week.
The Crusaders (7-15, 6-11 ASC) clinched the fourth and final spot in the ASC West Division with a 73-70 win against Texas Lutheran University (7-17, 5-13 ASC) last Saturday.
Despite 11 lead changes and neither team gaining more than a 3-point edge, UMHB led most of the second half and sealed the win by going 7-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes.
Kourtney Bevers and Jovana Miles led the way for the Cru with 17 points each, while Samara Williams had 14 points and Macy Morre added 12 points. Taylor Tucker grabbed 21 rebounds and Miles hauled in 14 on the night.
Last Thursday the Cru set themselves up for the tournament-clinching win on Saturday with a 52-42 win against Schreiner University.
UMHB jumped out to a 10-0 lead and eventually built a 22-12 lead at halftime. Although the Mountaineers battled back to within four points, the Cru was able to hold on to the win.
Miles led the way for the Cru with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Tucker added 13 points and 13 rebounds against Schreiner.
"Of course I want to win, but I think right now it's good to see us playing better as a team on the floor," UMHB coach Lisa Curliss-Taylor said. "Now is the time to peak, definitely."
UMHB will close out its season starting tonight (5:30 p.m.) with ASC West Division leaders, Howard Payne, and then will end the season on Feb. 16 against Sul Ross State University.
Curliss-Taylor said she is hoping her team can finish the season strong heading into the postseason.
"It's going to require a lot of mental focus to keep handling the pressure and finish up the season strong," Curliss-Taylor said. "Howard Payne is going to be tough, obviously, so we just have to focus on them right now."
For her efforts last week, Miles was named the ASC's Co-West Division Player of the week for the week ending Feb. 10. In the Cru's two wins, Miles averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds.
Curliss-Taylor said Miles, who has eight double-doubles on the season, is an asset to the team.
"She's always consistent," Curliss-Taylor said. "She may not be our leading scorer, but she is consistent in how she plays. I'm pleased that she stays focused on trying to win."