COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Allie Schulte scored 18 points, Emma Middleton had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and defending champion Lubbock Christian (Texas) held off Drury (Mo.) 69-59 on Friday night for its third women’s Division II championship in the last five tournaments.
Lubbock Christian (23-0) extended its Division II-leading active winning streak to 35 games, dating to Jan. 30, 2020, by snapping the 14-game winning streak of Drury (24-2). The Lady Chaps also won the championship in 2016 — their first season in the division, and are now 19-1 in the tournament.
Lubbock Christian made five of its first seven 3-point shots, with two apiece from Ashton Duncan and Madelyn Turner, and Laynee Burr beat the first-quarter buzzer with LCU’s sixth 3-pointer for a 22-12 lead.
LCU led by at least seven points for most of the second half — and as high as 21 with 6:26 remaining — until Drury took over midway through the fourth, going on a 20-3 run to get within 63-59 with 57 seconds left.
Duncan made two free throws with 49.7 seconds left for a six-point lead, and stole it at the other end to seal it.
“We just survived it,” LCU coach Steve Gomez said. “They fought back so well in the fourth quarter. And finally we got a couple of buckets and free throws, and hung on.”
Drury, in its first Division II championship, was slowed by injuries. National player of the year, Paige Robinson, injured her left ankle with 3:26 left in the semifinals, and starter Payton Richards also hurt her left ankle with 4:02 left in the second quarter against LCU.
Robinson scored 20 points and Emily Parker added 15 for Drury, which trailed by 17 points in the quarterfinals and nine in the semifinals. Richards had eight points, five rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes.
Turner finished with 13 points and Duncan had 12 for Lubbock Christian, which shot 48.9% but turned it over 20 times.
Drury was undefeated last season, winning 32 straight, before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball