Northeastern State edges Newman
Lewis scores 20 points to lead the RiverHawks to victory
TOPEKA, Kan. -- Taylor Lewis scored 15 second half points as Northeastern State rallied for a 53-45 win against Newman at Lee Arena in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament on Friday afternoon.
The win puts the RiverHawks (25-4) in Saturday's semifinals against Pittsburg State (25-5). Pittsburg State held off Central Missouri 74-70 in one of the other quarterfinal matchups.
Newman, in making their first NCAA tournament appearance, led 27-21 at halftime as NSU shot less than 30 percent from the floor in the frame. But, that all changed in the second half as the RiverHawks' postseason playoff experience paid big dividends.
Lewis, who finished with a game-high 20 points, put Northeastern State ahead for good with a 3-pointer with 11:05 remaining and the RiverHawks were able to extend their margin to as many as six, 47-41, with 6:57 to go.
NSU's defense clamped down in the last 8:45. The Jets, who finished the year at 23-6, managed only one field goal and two free throws the rest of the way.
Randy Gipson said his team's defensive effort, especially against All-America candidate Satoria Bell, was outstanding.
"I thought we did an excellent job of defending Bell," Gipson said, who improved to 6-6 in NCAA tournament action in his career. "Jasmine Wright and Tosha Tyler deserve a lot of the credit for guarding her when they were in the game."
"It was a hard-fought game, but I think our experience showed today."
Northeastern State shot 42 percent from the floor in the second half. The RiverHawks also made 9-of-10 free throws, including four consecutive by Lewis in the final 38 seconds to seal the victory.
Cristy Nitz added nine and Wright had eight for the RiverHawks. Sarah Green pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
Tasha Cannon paced Newman with 10.