Olivia Robertson matched a career high with 22 points and Delaney Gaddis posted a career-high 19 points, and the 41 combined points helped No.2 Lubbock Christian University overcome an 11-point deficit on 10-for-10 shooting in the final frame for a 69-61 win over Arkansas – Fort Smith to claim their second Heartland Conference Tournament title in program history.
The win provided LCU an automatic berth to the NCAA Division II South Central Region Tournament. Sunday night, the NCAA officially announced LCU as the host of the South Central Region Tournament. They will open play Friday at 6 p.m. hosting No.8-seed Tarleton State.
With 9:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, LCU trailed UAFS 55-44. Kailin Davis nailed a jumper and to begin the first of 10 straight LCU points and it eventually turned into a 20-2 run. Gaddis and Robertson combined for 18 points in the fourth quarter, with Gaddis tallying 11 points in the quarter. LCU was 10-for-10 in the fourth quarter and outscored UAFS 25-8 in the quarter.
LCU had only trailed after the first quarter, halftime and the third quarter once this season and the occasion had come during their only loss of the season. UAFS had led for 24:52 of Sunday's game (62.2%). Despite seven points from Tess Bruffey and six points from Robertson in the first quarter, UAFS led 17-15. The Lady Lions went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter behind four straight made field goals and led 26-17 with 7:39 left in the first half. Ellie Lehne had seven points in the second quarter and UAFS led 36-29 at the half. UAFS went the opening half of the third quarter without a field goal and LCU opened the second half on an 8-1 run to tie the game at 37-37, but they were unable to take the lead. The Lady Lions outscored LCU 14-5 to close the third quarter.
Along with Robertson and Gaddis offensive performances, the Lady Chaps also received 17 points from Tess Bruffey, who eclipsed 800 career rebounds with six Sunday (803 in her career). Bruffey also had three blocks to match Kellyn Schneider (2014-15) for the highest single-season blocks record in program and Heartland Conference history.
Gaddis was 8-of-10 from the field and matched a season high with seven assists. LCU was 16-of-23 (69.6%) from the field in the second half, going 12-of-14 (85.7%) inside the arc. They finished the game 57.8% (26/45) from the field.
Micayla Haynes scored 16 points to lead UAFS. Ellie Lehne (14 points) and Taya Taylor (13 points) also supplied the UAFS offense with points.
LCU improved to 28-1 with the win, while UAFS fell to 20-10. The Lady Lions also clinched a trip to the South Central Region Tournament, taking the No.7-seed.
LCU's 20-2 run in the fourth quarter was the turning point of the game. Gaddis (4-of-4) and Robertson (3-of-3) combined to go 7-of-7 from the field in the quarter.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
A pair of Lady Chaps claimed All-Tournament honors, with Tess Bruffey claiming Tournament MVP honors and Olivia Robertson receiving All-Tournament accolades. Bruffey averaged 15 points and Robertson averaged 14 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.