(Harrison, AR) – The #13 seeded Lackawanna College Lady Falcons defeated #4 Moraine Valley CC 93-92 to move on to the quarter-finals of the Women's NJCAA DII National Tournament. The victory came off of a buzzer beating shot by Colleen Cwalina off an assist from Ciaira Loyd. The Lady Falcons will play tomorrow at 9:00pm eastern.
The Falcon's first round contest in the NJCAA DII Women's National Tournament was a thriller. The first quarter started off at an average pace for both teams. Kyla Smith hit two 3-pointers, but Moraine Valley lead after the 1st quarter by a score of 14-10. The rest of the game was filled to the brim with offense on both sides of the ball. Both teams scored 25 points apiece in the 2nd quarter. Jasmine Lewis scored two buckets early, while Briaunna McCullough led the Lackawanna scoring throughout the remainder of the quarter. Moraine Valley headed into the locker room with a 39-35 lead.
Lackawanna lost their grip on the game early in the 3rd quarter. Moraine Valley was able to create a 10-point lead at 51-41. At that point in the quarter, Briaunna McCullough scored a 2-point field goal which started a Lady Falcons' comeback. During this comeback, McCullough hit 3 free throws in a row and a few more field goals to bring the game within 4 points. McCullough then hit a long 3-pointer to cut the deficit to a solitary point. Lackawanna's scoring pressure continued to build and finally exploded when Taylor-Rae Styles hit a 3-pointer to give the Lady Falcons their first lead since the 1st quarter. Lackawanna kept their momentum going and left the 3rd quarter with a 61-55 lead.
Lackawanna garnered a 13-point lead early in the 4th quarter but Moraine Valley didn't go away quietly. They would chip away at Lackawanna's lead as both teams kept trading buckets. A lot of credit goes to Ciaira Loyd for her ball handling as she dodged defenders as Moraine went to a full court pressure. However, with 4.7 seconds to go, Moraine Valley's Elizabeth Coffey hit a short range bucket to give the Cyclones a 92-91 lead. Coach Whittington took a timeout to advance the ball to mid court, as she drew up her final play. The ball was inbounded to Ciaira Loyd. Loyd drove the ball to just inside the foul line. As Moraine defenders collapsed on her, she found a wide open Colleen Cwalina under the basket. Cwalina got a shot off with a second to spare. The ball tapped off the glass, then the rim, and it fell through the net as time expired. The Falcons' won on a buzzer beater, 93-92, and advanced to the NJCAA Women's DII National Tournament Quarter-Finals.
Briaunna McCullough: 31 points, 8 total rebounds, 4 steals
Ciaira Loyd: 13 points, 4 assists, 1 steal
The Head Coach's Observation
"The fight in our kids right now is tremendous. We could not ask for anything more out of them. I am unbelievably proud of this group and their strength as a unit." – Head Coach Joya Whittington
The Lady Falcons will take on Sinclair CC tomorrow (March 21st) at 9:00pm eastern in the Women's NJCAA DII National Tournament Quarter-Finals. For all your news and updates, please visit us on Facebook Lackawanna Falcons Athletics, Instagram @FalconsSports, and Twitter @falconssports
(Credit for the he picture used on this story goes to the NJCAA)