• 77°

AUM Lady Senators fall in first round

JACKSON, Tenn.- Two basketball players from Covington County played in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament at Oman Arena Thursday morning.

Former Andalusia Lady Bulldog Nefraterri Rostick and former Red Level Lady Tiger Jessica Weathers helped propel the AUM Lady Senators to the tournament via an at-large bid.

The Lady Senators' season came to an end with a one-point loss to Transylvania University.

Five-foot-nine senior guard Nikki Young sank one of two free throws with four seconds remaining in the game to send Transylvania University (Kentucky) past Auburn University-Montgomery 57-56 in first-round play Thursday morning in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Tournament at Oman Arena.

Transylvania (23-4), the No. 6-seed in the tournament's fourth quarter, built an 11-point halftime lead (31-20) before third-seeded Auburn-Montgomery made a strong second-half run. The Lady Senators (25-9), who were making their 13th consecutive national tournament appearance, whittled away at their deficit until senior forward Jackie Tate scored at the 3:23 mark to tie the game at 52-all. The teams traded baskets down the stretch until Auburn-Montgomery senior guard Monica Diamond connected inside with 1:08 remaining to knot the score for the final time (56-56).

After Transylvania senior center Kathy Kryscio missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity with 45 seconds left, the Senators had the ball with a chance to take their first lead of the game. With 20 seconds to play, Diamond's jumper was off target and Kryscio grabbed the rebound for the Pioneers. Young was then fouled before reaching mid-court with four seconds on the clock.

Transylvania held on for the win despite hitting just 11-of-25 (44 percent) of their free-throw attempts. The Pioneers, who were led in scoring by Young's 16 points, connected on 47.8 percent (22-of-46) from the field. Senior guard Tari Young, Transylvania's leading scorer on the season (19.7 points per game), hit just 5-of-17 from the field and finished with 11 points. Kryscio added eight points, seven boards and six blocked shots.

Auburn-Montgomery out-rebounded Transylvania 47-24, including a 24-8 edge on the offensive boards. The Senators were held to 37.1 percent (23-of-62) shooting from the field and committed 20 turnovers. Tate paced the Senators with 20 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Jessica Weathers was also in double figures with 11 points, including ten in the second half. Senior center Nikisha Hayes pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds for the Lady Senators, followed by Diamond with nine. Nefraterri Rostick played 13 minutes in the first-round game. She scored two points and pulled down one rebound in the game.

Transylvania, which is in the tournament field for the second time, advances to meet the second-seeded team in the fourth quarter, Vanguard University (California), at 4:30 p.m. CST Friday, March 21 at Oman Arena. Vanguard reached the second round with a 62-48 win over the University of Mobile (Alabama) on Wednesday night.