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Lady Vols use free throws to extend season

Posted on 3/7/2017, 10:43 PM

CARTERVILLE -- The John A. Logan College women's basketball team made 27 of its 32 free throws to knock off Shawnee, 75-64, Tuesday night in a District 16 postseason tournament opener.

"I'll take that any night," said Logan coach Amanda Shelby. "We had been shooting free throws at around 50 percent and that won't win you any games but 84 percent sure will."

Logan's Tiaunna Watkins was 13 of 15 from the charity stripe and scored a team-high 19 points. She hit eight of those when the Lady Vols knocked down 10 straight in a one-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.

"She's just clutch," Shelby said. "It doesn't matter if she's not hitting from the outside, and tonight she wasn't, but she is still clutch at the free throw line."

Four players reached double figures for Logan on a night when every player contributed. Miriah Donelson hit four 3-pointers in the first half and scored 18 points with seven rebounds, while Ariel Crump had 14 points, including 8 of 8 at the foul line, and eight rebounds.

Destiny Cozart nailed three treys and had 11 points, Shaniya Whitsell and Dashia Foster combined for 11 points and Gabby Sanders didn't score but had eight rebounds and a handful of blocks.

Shawnee (10-20) had won three straight and scored the game's first seven points. The Lady Saints took a 20-10 lead into the second quarter, but then the Lady Vols got hot from outside.

Donelson and Cozart both hit a pair of triples to cut into the deficit and Shawnee was ahead 32-24 when Logan went on a 10-2 run to close the half and tie the score at 34. Donelson had two more treys in that run.

The Lady Vols extended that to a 19-3 run in the third quarter capped by another Cozart bomb that made it 43-35. Logan's first lead came early in the frame on a basket by Crump.

But the Lady Saints went on a 12-1 run of their own to go back up 51-48, a spurt finished by a three-point play from Le'Onzerrae Grubbs, who led all scorers with 20 points.

Logan scored nine straight after that to take over the lead for good. A layup by Watkins made it 58-51 with 8:53 left and a three-point play by Whitsell capped a 12-2 run for an eight-point lead.

Back-to-back treys by Takena Taylor, who added 17 points, helped Shawnee pull within a point but Watkins converted a three-point play that not only pushed the lead back to four but drew the fifth foul against Taylor with 5:24 still remaining.

Shawnee stayed close with a bucket by Lanecion Soward, who had 14 points, only to see Logan make 11 of 12 free throws, including the 10-straight stretch, to maintain the lead. The stats were at 27 of 30 -- that's 90 percent -- before Donelson missed a pair to snap the string in the final seconds.

Logan (16-12) advances to Friday morning's semifinal game against No. 1 seed Wabash Valley (29-1). That semifinal matchup tips off at 11 a.m. at Rend Lake College's Waugh Gymnasium.

Wabash Valley, which won the GRAC and is ranked No. 13 in the nation, rolled past Southwestern Illinois, 78-47, to extend its winning streak to 23 straight on Tuesday night.

That included a 10-point win this past Saturday at home over Logan.

"We played them neck-and-neck and were tired with four minutes to go," Shelby said. "We fought hard up there and it's tough to beat a team three times in a row."

The winner of that game advances to Saturday's championship with a national tournament berth on the line.