ERIE, Pa. -- West Texas A&M senior Lacee Logan spent most of the 2012-13 season agonizing over being on the sideline with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee.
After another big performance on Wednesday, Logan and the Lady Buffs are going to play for a national championship.
Logan drilled three 3-pointers in the Lady Buffs' first four possessions, and finished with 15 points to help West Texas defeat Nova Southeastern 80-66 in the NCAA Division II semifinals in front of 1,258 fans at Erie Insurance Arena.
“This is so special after going through that adversity last year,” Logan said. “It makes it all worth it. All I thought about in rehab and practice was getting back this season and making an impact on the team.”
No. 5 West Texas A&M (32-2) will play for the national championship at 7 p.m. Friday against either Cal Poly Pomona or Bentley at Erie Insurance Arena.Logan set the tone right away for the Lady Buffs as she hit three 3-pointers to give West Texas a 9-2 lead only 2 minutes, 16 seconds into the game.
“I think that's one of the best things about our team this year is when we get Lacee going early from the 3-point line,” West Texas junior forward Chantiquah White said. “It gets her more invovled and active and really boosts her confidence.”
Logan, a 6-foot guard/forward, could have been short of confidence when she injured her knee in practice as a junior just 10 games into the season. A few weeks later, her younger sister Danielle, who is currently a sophomore on the team, also tore her ACL.
“Seeing Danielle go down hurt worse than when I went down,” Logan said. “Being with her on the sideline knowing she was done playing for the season was tough but we got through it.”
Logan also had no doubt that she would be back.
“I never doubted that I'd be back this season and helping the team in any way that I could,” Logan said. “We have great trainers and I was going to work hard to play my senior season.”
Logan's early shots helped the Lady Buffs grab the momentum and throughout the game, No. 10 Nova Southeastern (29-5) kept storming back to make it a close game.
“Those early shots were huge obviously and Lacee has that ability to hit big shots,” West Texas first-year coach Mark Kellogg said. “We didn't set out to bomb 3-pointers right away, but I think they came from the inside. We have such a strong presence inside that they were making moves and finding our shooters on the outside. It's also a timing thing. When you have someone rebounding for you in practice you aren't getting passes from around the perimeter but from inside and you get into a shooting rhythm.”
Logan added six points the rest of the game and her early outside shooting forced Nova Southeastern to adjust its defense, leaving the inside more open for Devin Griffin and White to make an impact.
“Clearly, we were concerned about their post players and they hit some 3s that forced us to spread out our defense,” Nova Southeastern coach LeAnn Freeland said. “It was hard to try and stop both at the same time.”
White finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds, while Griffin had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Buffs. Raven Gerald added 14 points and Casey Land had a career-high 11 assists.
Taylor Buie paced Nova Southeastern with 21 points, and Amanda Burakoski and Danielle Robinson had 14 and 12 points, respectively.