March 25, 2009

Courtesy GoStatesmen.com

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - The Lady Statesmen pressured the West Texas A & M Lady Buffs right out of Texas, and the Elite Eight. The dominant defense of Delta State held their opponents to just 13 first half points, and the Lady Statesmen survived a late stampede by the Lady Buffs to claim a 55-47 victory and a trip to the National Semifinals.

With 4:12 left in the game, the Lady Statesmen (30-6) enjoyed a seemingly comfortable 45-30 lead. Just over three minutes later, West Texas (28-6) cut the lead to just four points at 49-45. The Lady Statesmen made four free throws in the final minute of the game and allowed just two more points to take the victory.

The Lady Statesmen were dominate early defensively, holding West Texas A & M to just 23.1-percent shooting in the first half. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead over the first three minutes of the half, the Lady Buffs rallied to cut the lead to four nearly ten minutes later.

Delta State took a 19-13 lead into the locker room at halftime behind the hot hand of Courtney Wilson, who made 2-of-4 shots from the field and 3-of-3 from the free throw line to lead the Lady Statesmen with seven points.

Freshman Veronica Walker led all scorers with 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds. She also had four key blocks. Denesha Henderson added a career-high 12 points and five rebounds, while Wilson added nine points.

The Lady Statesmen shot 55.6-percent in the second half, increasing their shooting percentage to 46.8 for the game, while holding the Lady Buffs to a mere 25.4-percent, establishing a new NCAA postseason record for DSU.

After scoring over 20 points in four of the last six games, West Texas forward and South Central Region All-Tournament Team selection Jamie Dreiling was held to just eight points on 3-of-16 shooting from the field.

Courtney Lee finished with 13 points and Joni Unruh added 10, but it wasn't enough to erase the lead the Lady Statesmen had built.

Delta State will take on Franklin Pierce in the semifinals Wednesday, March 25 at 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised by ESPN-U with Sam Gore and Brenda VanLengen on the call. The Lady Statesmen Basketball Network will also broadcast the game starting at 8 p.m. Matt Jones, Troy Treasure and J.T. Webb will have the call.