#2 Women's Basketball Advance to USCAA National Championship Game with Overtime Victory

Bethanie Williams getting ready to shoot a three-point jumper
Bethanie Williams getting ready to shoot a three-point jumper

Uniontown, PA- A 24 point win against Dean College in the opening round of the 2017 USCAA National Championship Tournament pushed the second seeded Mountaineers into the final four. The team played the three seed Rochester College Warriors this afternoon for the opportunity to move on to the championship game.

Bethanie Williams, who scored 31 points in the game, made the first shot of the game before Berea took a 7-3 lead off of Kristen Barnes' jump shot and three-point basket. With the game tied 10-10 at the 5:00 mark, Bri Lanham's three-point jumper broke the tie and gave the Mountaineers the lead. A Kiley Barnard three-pointer pushed Berea ahead by five, 18-13. By the end of the first quarter, a 7-1 run by the Warriors put them ahead by one point, 20-19.

As the second quarter began, Williams' layup turned a six point deficit into a four point deficit as the score moved to 25-21. At the 2:20 mark, Rochester's lead had expanded to 10 points as an 11-5 run for the Warriors made the score 36-26. A pair of free throws from Nakeisha Greene and a layup from Williams helped the Mountaineers move the score to 38-30 as the teams went to halftime.

Williams scored the first four points of the second half to bring Berea back within four points of the lead, making the score 38-34. A 13-6 run by Rochester gave them an 11 point advantage before Jaime Roberts three-point jumper made the score 51-43. A jump shot and three-point basket from Williams cut the deficit to just five, 53-48, as the teams headed to the final stanza.

Including the last 30 seconds of the third quarter, the Mountaineers scored 17 straight points as they turned the deficit into a nine point lead, 62-53. It quickly became a tight contest as the Warriors scored eight straight points to cut Berea's lead to just one point. Roberts' free throw made the score 63-61 in favor of the Mountaineers before a basket by Rochester extended the game into overtime.

The first few minutes of the extra period saw Berea pull ahead only for the Warriors to come back and pull within one point, until with 54 seconds remaining in overtime the game became tied at 68. Lanham broke the tie with her drive to the basket to put the Mountaineers ahead 70-68. A pair of free throws by Rochester tied the game once again. With the score tied 70-70, Zacchea Small had the ball at the top of the key, drove into the lane using a spin move at the elbow along with a second spin move to create some space and her hook shot in the paint rolled in, giving Berea the 72-70 victory and a chance to play for the USCAA National Championship.

To go along with her point total, Williams finished with 14 rebounds to finish with a double-double. Greene led the team in rebounds with 16, including nine offensive rebounds, to go along with eight points and four blocks. Lanham finished nine points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Roberts finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.  Barnes finished with seven points, while Small and Barnard finished with three points each.

Second seeded Berea (21-6) moves onto the championship game set to be against the number one seed Concordia College Alabama. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:15. Live video and stats can be found here.