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After win over top-seed Freed-Hardeman, Campbellsville women a game away from title

Lindsey Burd scored the final six points to push Campbellsville to the NAIA championship game opposite Oklahoma City (CU Athletics Photo)

Lindsey Burd scored the final six points to push Campbellsville to the NAIA championship game opposite Oklahoma City (CU Athletics Photo)


For the first time in Campbellsville University athletics history, a team is heading to an NAIA national championship game after the Lady Tigers’ women’s basketball squad upended No. 1 Freed-Hardeman University in the NAIA Fab Four 56-52 Monday night.

The win ended a 35-game win streak by the Lady Lions and avenged a pair of NAIA tournament losses to the Lions in the last five years.

Campbellsville will face defending champion Oklahoma City Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. EDT. The second-ranked Stars knocked the Lady Tigers out of NAIA quarterfinals in 2010 and last season.

The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 3, with Jason Knapp and Brenda VanLengen on the call. Also, fans can follow the game live on the Campbellsville University Sports Network and 88.7 The Tiger – www.wlcufm.com.

Campbellsville is trying to become the second Kentucky school to capture a national title in four days. Thomas More won the NCAA Division III Championship last Saturday night.

“It is real nice,” said head coach Ginger Colvin. “I can’t say enough about Freed-Hardeman but tonight we played great on the defensive end.”

Campbellsville turned Freed-Hardeman over a season-high 21 times and held the Lady Lions to their lowest point total since Dec. 8, 2012 against Faulkner University.

“It was an unbelievable effort,” said Colvin.

After matching its largest lead of 10 points, 47-37, with 5:30 left, Freed-Hardeman went on a 7-0 run to cut the difference to three, 47-44. The Lady Lions scored five of the next eight points and cut the deficit to one for the first time since CU took its first lead, 13-11, with 12:34 left in the first half.

Campbellsville did not get rattled, though and finished the final three minutes hitting 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to hold on. Lindsey Burd hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to put the Lady Tigers up by two possessions. Taleeah Cross and Haley Newby both missed shots on the other end of the floor before Owen came away with the final rebound.

Burd was the ringleader, scoring the final six points and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line during that span for a team-high 12 points. Owen pitched in the other two from the charity stripe to finish with nine points.

“At the end of the game Lindsey Burd is not our top option,” said Colvin. “But she stood up there and finished hitting four-straight to win us the game.”

“I am not the best free throw shooter on the team,” said Burd. “But I told myself that I was not going to let my team down, and I was going to step up and hit those free throws.”

Campbellsville used a familiar piece of its game early to spark the Independence Events Center. The Lady Tigers upped their defensive pressure and forced seven quick turnovers and scored eight points off those FHU mishaps. CU turned the Lady Lions over 12 times in the first half, scoring 15 points off those turnovers.

Freed-Hardeman ended up turning the ball over a season-high 21 times.

The first half was a game of runs for both teams. Campbellsville went on a 10-0 run, with Emily Fox giving the Lady Tigers their first lead, 13-11. Campbellsville never trailed again. CU’s lead grew to 19-11 on that run, and CU held the Lady Lions scoreless for 5:58. Fox finished with a team-high 13 points.

Even though the Lady Lions never regained the lead, they didn’t make it easy for Campbellsville. Freed-Hardeman answered with an 7-0 run themselves but Campbellsville finished the first half on a 12-2 run, holding the Lions to its lowest point total in the first half all season, taking a 31-22 lead.

The biggest story in the first half was Freed-Hardeman getting into major foul trouble. With the Lady Lions having only six players seeing action in all three games in the tournament before the Fab Four, Colvin knew the teams depth would take over.

Leading scorers, Haley Newby (18.0 ppg) and Grace Alonso de Armino (16.2 ppg) both picked up their second fouls and head coach Dale Neal chose to keep his top players in the game. Also, Taleeah Cross, who is the fourth leading scorer for the Lady Lions, was called for her third foul and also stayed in the rest of the game.

In the second half Freed-Hardeman went over seven-minutes without a field goal and during that stretch the Lady Lions saw Alonso de Armino foul out with 8:15 left.

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“I have said all along that we have tremendous depth,” said Colvin. “It was all hands on deck tonight and it was a lot of fun to watch.”

Campbellsville finished hitting 18-of-52 (34.6 percent) from the floor and 4-of-16 (25 percent) from behind the arc. With the Lady Tigers improving their free throw shooting down the stretch, CU finished hitting 16-of-20 (80 percent).

Freed-Hardeman outrebounded Campbellsville, 49-34. In four games in the NAIA Tournament, CU has been beat on the boards in three of those. The only game CU wasn’t outrebounded came against Bethel in the quarterfinals, 43-41.

The Lady Lions ended Campbellsville’s season in 2011 and 2014 in the NAIA quarterfinals.

From Campbellsville Athletics

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