Yale 76, South Alabama 74 OT
Yale’s 76-74 overtime victory Saturday over the South Alabama Jaguars came after the Bulldogs mounted a comeback after trailing by 11 points with just two minutes left in the fourth quarter.
First-year guard Tori Andrew started the game-saving rally with a three-pointer with 1:51 left in the game. Senior Jen Berkowitz followed with a block and senior guard Tamara Simpson hit another trey to put Yale (18-13) on the cusp of getting even with South Alabama (21-13).
In the high scoring overtime period, Yale outscored the Bulldogs 12-10 to earn the victory.
Simpson ended the game with a whopping seven steals. Her performance gave her 129 for the season, breaking the Ivy League record.
"It's really exciting, ending my senior year breaking another steals record," said Simpson, who set the Yale career steals mark last year and has led the league in steals for four straight years. "It is so nice having my teammates behind me, and doing it on my home court."
Berkowitz led the team with 19 points plus eight rebounds. Andrew scored 18 while sophomore guard Roxy Barahman contributed 14 and a team-leading 12 rebounds. Simpson was also in double figures with 12 along with six rebounds and her seven steals.
Six South Alabama players were in double figures led by sophomore guard Shaforia Kines’ 14 points. Kines also finished with seven steals and five rebounds.
With the win, Yale earned a program-record 18 wins. The previous record, 17, was set in 1979-80.
Yale will play for the championship on Thursday at Central Arkansas. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT
Central Arkansas 65, Nevada 56
Central Arkansas (24-9) handed the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack (19-17) and 65-56 defeat Saturday evening to advance to the WBI championship game.
While the teams had a low-scoring first half, Central Arkansas held the advantage going into the break, 27-24. The Sugar Bears outscored their opponent 21-19 in the third period and continued to hold the edge in the last ten minutes with a 17-13 scoring advantage. However, Central Arkansas never led by more than nine points as Nevada stayed within striking distance until the final buzzer.
The win gives the Sugar Bears their third straight season with 25 or more victories. They improve to 41-5 (.891) at home, 79-18 (.814) overall, and 8-3 (.727) in postseason play over the last three seasons.
"[To win 25 three years in a row] is pretty special,” said head coach Sandra Rushing. “It says a lot about the players we've had come through this program, and the ones who laid the foundation. We had a vision when we started a few years ago, and they bought into that vision.”
Senior forward Taylor Baudoin led Central Arkansas with 24 points. Senior center Kierra Jordan contributed 12 plus nine rebounds. Junior guards Antonija Bozic and Kamry Orr added 10 points each. Orr also grabbed six rebounds.
Senior forward Teige Zeller paced Nevada with 17 points plus eight rebounds. Senior guard T Moe was the only other Wolf Pack player in double figures with 10.