KATY, Texas -- Breanna Wright scored 16 points, including two free throws with seven seconds remaining, and Abilene Christian held off Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 69-68 on Sunday in the championship game of the Southland Conference, earning the Wildcats their first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Abilene Christian (22-9) appeared to have the game in control after Wright buried a jumper for a 50-26 lead with seven minutes left in the third quarter. But the Islanders (17-15), who were also trying to punch a ticket to their first NCAA tourney, went on a 19-3 run to close out the quarter, trailing 53-45.
Dalesia Booth had a basket and a 3-point play as TAMCC scored the first seven points in the final quarter to pull within 53-52. Makayla Mabry answered with a 3-pointer to begin a 13-1 run and the Wildcats pushed their lead back to double digits 64-53 with 4:44 to play.
Booth, who finished with a game-high 23 points, brought the Islanders roaring back, scoring six points in an 11-0 spurt to knot the score at 64. Lexie Ducat's layup snapped the Islanders run and Dominique Golightly hit 1 of 2 free throws to put ACU up 67-64. Emma Young, who hit the game-winning shot in a 58-56 semifinal victory over No. 2 seed Stephen F. Austin, made two free throws with 12 seconds left to pull TAMCC within 67-66.
Golightly missed two free throws, but Ducat grabbed the offensive rebound and passed to Wright, who was fouled. Wright, who set a Southland Tournament record by hitting 16 of 16 free throws in an 88-79 semifinal victory over top-seeded Lamar, made both, setting up one last shot for the Islanders. But Alexes Bryant missed a 3-pointer and Makinna Serrata grabbed the rebound and scored at the buzzer.
Golightly finished with 15 points and seven rebounds and Mabry scored 15 and blocked three shots.
The Islanders were making just their second trip to the Southland championship. They lost to Lamar 86-59 in the 2009-10 title game.
- Eric Koch
- Kelly Johnson
- Jennifer White