CENTRAL, S.C. – The Warriors entered the NCCAA South Region Tournament as the No. 4 seed but after an upset over No. 1 seed Emmanuel, SWU will defend their title in the championship game on Friday night in Tysinger Gymnasium. The Warriors stormed back to win 71-68 in overtime.
The Warriors were on the brink of elimination with 1.7 seconds left in regulation. Elise Coberly was fouled and had two free throws as the game was tied at 60-60. Tysinger came alive as Coberly missed both, sending the game to an extra session.
In overtime, Bri Seda put the Warriors up 63-62 with one of her three 3's in the game. The Lions came back to take a 65-63 lead as Skye Rogers converted a three-point play. SWU trailed until Kristen Smith made two three throws with 1:25 left to tie the game at 65-65.
Chelsie Waters made two free throws after a missed three from Emmanuel as the Warriors gained the lead 67-65. Mariah Davis answered with her lone three of the game with 44 seconds left to put the Lions back on top 68-67. Waters came back and scored in the lane as the Warriors went on top 69-68.
On the ensuing possession the Lions turned the ball over with 11 seconds left. Bri Seda knocked down two free throws with eight ticks remaining to put the Warriors up 71-68. Another turnover by the Lions turned the end into a wild finish. Seda picked up the ball and tossed it the length of the court with four seconds left. The ball hit the backboard and was picked up by Rogers who let loose a hail mary from beyond half court that hit the top of the backboard.
Neither team was able to gain the upper hand with 10 lead changes and eight ties. The deficit for both teams never reached double digits as both sides jockeyed back and forth. The Lions led for nearly 21 minutes of the game but the Warriors knocked them out of the NCCAA South Regional for the second straight year.
Seda led all players with 23 points on 8 of 21 shooting. She knocked down three 3's and added four rebounds and four steals. Christiana Perkins battled foul trouble, playing just 25 minutes but managed to add 16 points and six steals. She connected on 4 of 6 from long range.
Cayse Branyon led the Warriors with six rebounds and also scored 12 points. Kristen Smith came off the bench to score eight points and pull down five boards. Chelsie Waters dished out a team-high five assists.
SWU shot 37.1 percent from the floor and hit 12 of 25 from downtown. The Warriors also made 13 of 15 from the free throw line. The Lions made just 35.4 percent from the floor and 3 of 16 from beyond the arc. Timia Reynolds led the team with 21 points off the bench.
The Lions had won the previous two meetings this year by 23 and 19 points before Thursday's overtime victory by the Warriors.
SWU defeated Emmanuel 61-59 a year ago to capture the region title and earn a berth to the national tournament as Waters hit two free throws with 0.4 seconds left.
The Warriors will take on Bob Jones in the championship game on Friday. The Bruins came back to defeat Columbia International in overtime 63-55, holding the Rams to just three points in overtime. Maggi Ford led the Bruins with 19 points.
Bob Jones defeated the Warriors in their final regular season contest just two weeks ago, 53-50. The Warriors won the first meeting 64-56 back in December in Tysinger.
Friday's championship game is scheduled to tip at 6 p.m.