Kiki Sears' career high helps LIU Post head to first Round of 16
WALTHAM, Mass. -- LIU Post advanced to its first Round of 16 after beating second-seeded Adelphi 85-83 on Saturday night at the Dana Athletic Center.
The Pioneers (24-6, 18-2 ECC) got a career night from senior guard Kiki Sears, who poured in a career-best 28 points to pace the green and gold.
Sears put on a shooting clinic in the first half. She was 5-for-8 from deep in the opening stanza, including three in a row, the last of which gave LIU Post a 12-point advantage (30-18) with 10:22 to go before the break. Junior guard Chelsea Williams followed with four consecutive free throws to extend the Pioneers' lead to 38-20 just more than two minutes later to cap a 24-4 run that spanned six-plus minutes of action.
LIU Post, led by Sears' shooting, led at halftime, 50-44. The green and gold were 6-for-13 from behind the arc, and 10-for-13 from the foul line. It was able to turn 10 Adelphi miscues into 16 points off turnovers.
In the second half, the Panthers gave the Pioneers a run for their money, but the green and gold's defense came up big when it counted. After Sade Jackson hit a trey to give Adelphi its first lead since the 14:51 mark of the first half at 79-78, Sears answered with a 3 of her own to put LIU Post back on top (81-79). Seconds later, senior guard Alexis Peters came away with a steal and found senior forward Shayna Gatling in transition for the fast-break layup, extending the Pioneers' lead to 83-79 with 1:04 left on the clock.
With under a minute remaining, sophomore center Nyasia Davis hit 1 of 2 from the stripe, giving the green and gold an 84-79 advantage. Jackson responded with two foul shots of her own, followed by a layup to bring the Panthers within one (84-83). Williams then hit 1 of 2 from the free-throw line, giving the Pioneers an 85-83 edge.
On the ensuing possession, Adelphi drove the length of the court, and called a timeout with three seconds remaining on the clock.
As play resumed, the Panthers inbounded the ball to Jessica Kitrys, but Gatling came up with the game-saving block and Peters corralled the rebound to secure the 85-83 victory.
Peters finished with 22 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Williams amassed 21 points and four rebounds. Gatling came away with 11 rebounds and three blocks, while Davis hauled in 10 rebounds and chipped in six points.