Metro St. rallies for region crown
MSU powers back with 15-4 and 21-5 runs to overcome deficit
DURANGO, Colo. – No. 10 Metro State held Adams State to just four field goals during the final 30 minutes and rallied from a 14-point deficit to win 49-36 on Monday night to win the NCAA Division II Central Region championship and advance to the Elite Eight. The Roadrunners improved to 30-2 this season, while ASC’s season ended at 23-10.
It is the first 30-win season in school history for Metro State.
Metro State endured a miserable first half, shooting just 19.4 percent and getting outrebounded 26-23. It was all Adams State in the first 10 minutes as ASC held a 20-6 lead with 10:51 left in the half. However, that was the final field goal for the Grizzlies in the first half as the Roadrunners closed on a 15-4 run with all of ASC’s points coming on free throws in the final 10 minutes. Adams State missed its final 17 field goal attempts in the first half.
After a 3-pointer by Alyssa Benson with 17:26 left in the first half, Metro State went over eight minutes without a field goal, missing 13 consecutive shots. But aggressive play put the Roadrunners on the line eight times in the final six-and-a-half minutes of the first half as they climbed back in the game.
The Roadrunners finally tied the game at 24-24 on a 3-pointer by Cassondra Bratton just more than two minutes into the second half after Adams State turned the ball over on its first three possessions and missed a shot on its fourth.
Metro State took its first lead of the game on a 3-pointer by Benson with 15:52 left in the game. The Grizzlies took a 29-28 lead with 12:14 remaining, but a layup by Bratton two possessions later gave Metro State the lead for good, starting 21-5 run.
Bratton finished with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds, making 8 of 10 at the line. No other Roadrunner reached double figures in scoring, but Kristin Valencia had 10 rebounds and five points. Benson hit 3 of 5 from the outside for nine bench points. Brandi Valencia had eight points and four rebounds, also off the bench.
Defensively, Metro State held Adams State to just 24.5 percent shooting for the game. The Grizzlies made just 4 of 38 (10.5 percent) during the final 30 minutes of the game. The Roadrunners also held ASC’s leading scorer, Vera Jo Bustos to just seven points on 3 of 18 shooting. She entered the game averaging 17.8 points and shooting 42.0 percent.
The Roadrunners shot just 30.9 percent in the game. They made only two of their first 18 shots, but made 15 of 37 (40.5) during the final 29 minutes. Metro State also forced 17 turnovers.
Kendra Coveal led ASC with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Metro State outrebounded the Grizzlies 42-39 in the game. ASC entered the game leading the nation in rebounding margin and Metro State was third.
Metro State will make its first trip to the Elite Eight in school history and will face Shaw (N.C.) at 3:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 22, in St. Joseph, Mo.