The Athens Review
The fourth-ranked Lady Cardinals claimed the championship of the WNIT at Midland College for a third straight year Saturday night with a 66-63 win against second-ranked Central Arizona.
The win, which was the 44th straight for the Lady Cardinal program, improved Coach Elena Lovato’s squad to 8-0 on the year.
“I love this group, I believe this group and I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world,” Lovato said. “We know we have a very long and challenging road head of us, but the girls, my staff and I plan on staying focused and taking things as they come.”
Shannon Smith and Adut Bulgak each hit two clutch free throws in the final 39 seconds to enable the Lady Cardinals to cap a rally from an eight-point deficit in the the final 8:49. Smith and Bulgak combined for 40 points with Smith leading the way with 22.
Smith was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Also named to the all-tournament team for the Lady Cardinals was Krystle Henderson.
The Lady Cardinals opened the tournament with a 79-49 win over Southern Idaho and scored a 75-57 win against Odessa in the semifinals.
The Lady Cardinals have another tough test at home Wednesday, taking on eighth-ranked and unbeaten Weatherford at 4 p.m. On Friday, they host unbeaten and No. 19 NEO at 7:30 p.m.
The Cardinals ran their record to 5-2 Saturday with an 88-60 blowout of Team Elevate at Cardinal Gym.
Team Elevate hung with the Cardinals the first 15 minutes of the game. The score was tied 25-25 at the 5:37 mark before the Cardinals took command and surged out to a 39-29 halftime lead.
Less than five minute sinto the second half, the Cardinals had things well in hand with a 51-39 advantage.
Joshua Gentry paced a balanced Cardinal scoring effort with 13 points. Carl Porter finished with 12, followed by Tyler Corley and Octavius Ellis with 10 each.
Just missing double-digit scoring were Mike Miller with nine and Karon Phillips and Dominique Elliott with eight each.
First-year coach Kris Baumann’s squad is scheduled to open Region XIV Conference play on the road Tuesday, going to Pasadena to play unbeaten and 24th-ranked San Jacinto (7-0). The Cardinals play Weatherford at home Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Saturday against Houston Blaze at 4 p.m.