HENDERSON, Tenn. – In a battle of the two best teams in the American Midwest Conference, the 10th-ranked Lyon College women’s basketball team and No. 1 ranked Freed-Hardeman Lions played a game for the ages at Smith-Kirk Court. In a hostile environment, the Scots took the Lions to overtime, and had one final shot to try and win, but fell in a heartbreaker 89-87 in the AMC Tournament Championship. The two teams were evenly matched the entire way, trading punches back-and-forth. Both squads put up almost identical percentages from the field with Freed-Hardeman shooting 50.0 percent and Lyon totaling a 46.0 field goal percentage.
Kiara Moore led the Scots with 24 points, while Sarah Elkins went off for career high 22 points. Liz Henderson followed with 17 points and a team high four assists.
Freed-Hardeman was led by Taleeah Cross’s 32 points and Kim Mallory’s 18.
Lyon is now 27-5 on the season, while Freed-Hardeman improves to 33-0. Both teams clinch automatic bids to the Women’s Basketball Division I National Tournament in Billings, Mont.
BY THE NUMBERS
10 – Lyon hit 10 three-pointers in the game and finished with a 41.7 three-point field goal percentage. Henderson led the way with three 3-point field goals, while Moore, Kelsey Smith and Ali Tucker each hit two.
86.4 – The Scots made 19-of-22 from the free-throw line for 86.4 percent in the game. Moore finished 8-for-9, while Elkins was 6-for-7. Henderson followed going a perfect 4-for-4, while Elliot Taylor was 1-for-2.
28 – Lyon grabbed a total of 28 rebounds, led by seven from Taylor. Elkins followed with five, while Moore, Henderson and Madison Riley had four rebounds.
12 – Both teams combined for just 12 turnovers with each team posting six. Lyon also scored nine points off the Lions’ turnovers and Freed-Hardeman had just four off the Scots’ mistakes.
Both teams traded baskets in the first quarter as Lyon and Freed-Hardeman would end the first period, tied at 20. Freed-Hardeman would score the first seven points of the second quarter, but the Scots quickly responded cutting the lead to three with 4:05 left in the period. Henderson would score a basket to end the second quarter as Freed-Hardeman took a 40-37 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was similar to the first, as Lyon continued to chip away at the Lions’ lead. Lyon would eventually grab a 54-52 lead at the 2:11 mark. FHU then scored five of the final eight points of the quarter as both teams went to the fourth, knotted at 57.
Each team hung tough down the stretch of regulation as they were tied at 64 with 6:15 to play in regulation. Tucker would hit a three-point basket at the 2:57 mark giving the Scots a 70-66 lead, but Cross went down the court and hit a contested three-pointer of her own, cutting the Scots lead to one at 70-69. The game would be tied at 74 after Moore hit a basket for the Scots, and Cross added another for the Lions. Lyon had two final attempts at a game-winning basket in regulation, but could not cash in as the game headed to overtime.
In the overtime period, Lyon and Freed-Hardeman continued to battle as the game would come to an 83-83 tie with 1:52 left. FHU led 87-84 down the stretch, but Smith tied the game with a gutsy three-point basket with 26 seconds left. Tiffany Pate would score for the Lions with four seconds left, forcing a Lyon timeout. The Scots had one last chance to tie or win the game, but came up just short.
WHAT’S AHEAD FOR THE SCOTS
Lyon will await to see where they are seeded in the field for the National Tournament, which will take place from March 15-21 in Billings, Mont. The NAIA National Office will announce the tournament field on Wednesday via a live selection show at 7 p.m.