FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. –- Nova Southeastern has advanced to the NCAA South Region Championship, by virtue of their Saturday night victory against Rollins, 73-57 at the NSU Arena in the Don Taft University Center.
The Sharks (22-8) will face Delta State in Monday’s title game. Their third win of the season against the Tars did not come without drama despite a 23-point first half lead.
With 10:03 to go in the first, the Sharks led by two, 13-11. Danielle Robinson scored on a layup, and two straight 3-pointers by Taylor Buie ignited what would become a 20-0 run to push NSU ahead 33-11.
While Rollins didn’t score for nearly five minutes of game time, and didn’t hit their next field goal until the 3:57 mark, they battled back to an 11-point halftime deficit, 40-29.
Rollins cut further into the NSU lead in the second half, twice getting it to a five-point game. The first was the Tars coming out of the locker room on a 8-2 run to make it 42-37, but Alexis Murphy, just a 15 percent shooter from 3-point range coming in, buried one off the dribble to begin a 7-0 spurt for NSU, giving them a 49-37 lead.
Later, with 8:23 to go, it was just a five-point spread at 54-49, and again the Sharks responded with a mini-run. This one was 6-0, with a jumper by Robinson and back-to-back layups by Tailor Jones and Murphy, to move ahead by 11 (60-49). Even at this point, they still weren’t out of the woods.
The last gasp for Rollins, with 4:04 left, was snuffed out by the NSU long-range game. With the Sharks ahead by eight, 62-54, Robinson made the first of two free throws, and though her second missed, Amanda Burakoski chased down the offensive rebound and hit a 3-pointer. The Tars come up empty on their possession, and Meixandra Porter hit one from more than three steps from behind the line -– her first and only 3-pointer of the night -– to push the lead to 15, and it stayed in double digits for the remainder of the game.
Porter led the team in scoring for the third consecutive game, with 20 on Saturday. Buie was next with 15, with three 3-pointers, and Burakoski had 14 on 5-of-8 shooting, 4-of-7 from 3-point range, along with a team-high eight rebounds. Jones had nine points, seven rebounds, and a team-high five assists to only one turnover.
Rollins had two in double digits: Sarah Taylor with 17 and Ashley Jones with 12.
The SSC Tournament Champions lose just one senior, point guard Tera McDaniel.