March 13, 2009

Courtesy Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Hickory, N.C. – The #1 seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University Women’s Basketball Team (27-4) picked up a 69-58 win over eight seed Anderson University (18-13) Friday evening at Shuford Memorial Gymnasium in the quarterfinals of the 2009 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Women’s Basketball Tournament. L-R will move to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

With the win, the Bears have tied the school record for wins in a season, as the team won 27 games in both the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons.

L-R opened the game with nine straight points and pushed its lead to as much as 18 in the first half (31-13) before going into the locker room with a 32-17 advantage. Junior center Denise Moore (Newport News, Va./Rider Univ.) scored 13 of her team-high 17 points before the break.

After the intermission, the Bears opened up their largest lead of the game at 37-17 before the Trojans roared back into the game. Over the next 5:15, Anderson went on a 21-4 run to cut the L-R lead to three.

The Bears battled back with a 12-0 run of their own, holding the Trojans scoreless for 4:28 to seal the victory.

Junior guard Jami Safrit (Hickory, N.C./Fred T. Foard HS) led the way for L-R with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Junior guard Amber Holt (Charlotte, N.C./Hopewell HS) added 13 points and graduate student guard Brittany Mitch (McLean, Va./Duke Univ.) pitched in nine points of her own.

Anderson’s Keana Boyd (Newberry, S.C.) led all scorers with 21 points and was helped by Kirsten Peterson (Owego, N.Y.) and Alexa Neal (Greensboro, N.C.) as they chipped in 10 points a piece.

When asked about the record-tying win total, Lenoir-Rhyne Head Coach Todd Starkey replied, “We’re doing historical things. Everything that has happened this season, winning the regular season and conference tournament championship, earning the number one seed and hosting the regional tournament and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament is making history. It will be great to look back on at the end of the season and say ‘Wow, we had a great run’, but there’s still more to be done this year.”

Lenoir-Rhyne will face fourth-seeded Francis Marion Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., in the regional semifinals. FMU defeated USC Aiken by a 101-83 margin Friday night.