For the third straight year, the Lady Hornets found themselves in the MIAA Championship game. This time, Head Coach Jory Collins and the Lady Hornets were able to get that monkey off their back, after 67-51 win over University of Central Missouri on Sunday, March 10 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.
“It feels good – not going to lie,” Collins said. “We haven’t won the conference tournament since I was doing laundry. I’m just really happy for our players Jocelyn and Rachel. We won a national championship together when they were freshman, but I’m glad they could cut some other nets down.”
The MIAA Championship victory is the Lady Hornets fifth in history and the first since the tournament was moved to Kansas City. The win also secured a spot in regionals for the Lady Hornets.
After jumping out early on their previous two MIAA tournament opponents, the Lady Hornets found themselves in a dogfight in the first half with the Mules.
Municipal Auditorium saw six lead changes in the first half with both teams battling for a championship, and a post-season berth. Rachel Hanf, senior guard, did what she does best and hit some big shots when she added back to back threes with 10 minutes to go in the half, securing the lead.
Hanf’s threes helped the Lady Hornets cruise into the half with a 31-23 lead. But UCM made a push in the second half, pulling within five with 12:30 to go before Hanf hit another three.
Once again the Mules were not going to go down without a fight, as they pulled within seven after a three-point play. Hanf stepped up once again when the team needed her most, and sank a three to make it a 10 point game with 52-42.
“It always feels great to get the win, and if I’m the contributing factor, it feels even better, every player wants to do what they can to get the W,” said Merissa Quick, crime and delinquencies major.
Quick, sophomore forward, earned Most Outstanding Player for the tournament with her relentless play throughout the weekend.
The Lady Hornets received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. The appearance marks the 15th time in the last 17 years that the Lady Hornets will find themselves in the tournament.
The Lady Hornets look to keep their season alive in regional play with a familiar foe. They will travel to Topeka to take on archrival Washburn this Friday on Schendel Court at Lee Arena. The time of the game time is TBA.