The Lady Tigers end their season at 22-8, ending their 16-game winning streak. West Florida, ranked 17th in the latest DII women's basketball media poll, improves to 26-6 and will play either Rollins or Eckerd in Monday's championship.
While West Florida was hitting all their shots early, Benedict made just one of their first 10 attempts and trailed 17-3 midway through the first quarter. The Lady Tigers shot 13.6 percent (3-for-22) in the first quarter and trailed 22-9 after the first 10 minutes of play.
"Right from the start, we didn't play Benedict's defense," said Benedict head coach James Rice. "We allowed their shooters to get open, we weren't talking on defense. I don't know if it was just getting caught up in the moment or being inexperienced got to us, but we didn't do anything right at the beginning of the game."
Benedict shot 26 percent for the game, making just 19-of-73 shot attempts. The Lady Tigers attempted a season-high 39 3-pointers, making nine (23.1 perccent).
"Our thing is, when we play great defense, we tend to play better offense," Rice said. "Since our defense was so bad, we couldn't get anything started on offense. We couldn't get into our offense."
The Lady Tigers made a charge in the second quarter, cutting the lead to 31-25 after a layup by Michala Robinson. The Argos scored the final four points of the quarter for a 40-29 halftime lead. West Florida pushed the lead to as much as 24 points late in the third quarter before MiKeisha Moore hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 62-41 heading into the fourth quarter.
Simone Roberts led Benedict with 12 points and was the only Lady Tiger in double figures. Moore added eight points. Destiny Betts had a team-high 12 rebounds.
West Florida placed four players in double figures, led by Katie Bobos with 17 points.
The Lady Tigers wrap up another successful season. After advancing to the region championship game a year ago, Benedict returned just two players off that squad. So to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament is an accomplishment to be proud of, Rice said.
The Benedict College Lady Tigers advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 NCAA Division II women's basketball South Region tournament with a 71-60 victory over Valdosta State on Friday afternoon on the campus of Eckerd University.
MiKeisha Moore scored 21 points, hitting five 3-pointers, while Destiny Betts added 19 points to lead Benedict.
"No one expected us to win here. No one expected us to win a regular season championship and a tournament championship and one game in the South Region. They surprised me. They gave me everything they've got."
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