Top-ranked Thomas More survives
Lions trim 19-point deficit to four before Saints surge to victory
CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. -- No. 1-ranked Thomas More survived a second-half rally by Piedmont to win 53-44 on Friday in a first-round game of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament at the Connor Convocation Center.
With the win, the Saints improved to 29-0 and advanced to play No. 16-ranked Mount Union on Saturday night at 7 p.m. With the loss, the Lions ended the season at 20-9.
Thomas More jumped out to a 10-2 lead when sophomore guard Chelsea Tolliver made a 3-pointer with 15:05 to play in the opening half. Piedmont answered with four points to cut the lead to 10-6 at the 12:10 mark when Laura Simmons made a jumper. The Saints closed out the half on a 21-8 run to take a 31-14 lead at halftime when freshman guard Katie Kitchen made a lay-up with 31 seconds to play in the half.
The Saints opened the second half scoring four of the first six points including a lay-up by sophomore guard Allison Long to extend the lead to 35-16 with 15:06 to play. Piedmont responded with a 21-6 run capped by a lay-up by Shanice Wheeler to cut the lead to 41-37 with 4:08 remaining. Thomas More closed out the half on a 12-7 run capped by two free throws by Long with eight seconds to play in the game for the final nine-point margin.
Tolliver led the Saints in scoring with a game-high 16 points and Long just missed double-figures as she had nine. Sophomore forward/center Katie Kees led the team on the boards with a game-high 12 rebounds.