Phoenix wins CAA title, earns first NCAA berth
Lauren Brown scored 17 points, Shay Burnett had a double-double, and Elon beat James Madison, 78-60, on Saturday night in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament championship game in Harrisonburg, Va., to earn its first trip to the NCAA tournament.
Burnett had 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Essence Baucom added 16 points and Malaya Johnson had 14 for top-seeded Elon (27-6), which shot 53 percent from the floor.
Precious Hall scored 32 points on 10-for-33 shooting to lead No. 2 seed James Madison (24-8). The Dukes shot just 23 percent (18 for 79) from the field but made 20 of 25 free throws (80 percent). They shot 57 percent in their semifinal win against Drexel.
James Madison won the past three CAA championships and had beaten the Phoenix in all seven conference matchups.
TEXAS SOUTHERN 70, GRAMBLING STATE 66: Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament MVP Joyce Kennerson poured in 29 points, including the clinching free throw with 4.7 seconds left, to lead Texas Southern to its first NCAA tournament berth in Houston.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our university for people to see Texas Southern University and our young ladies,” Coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry said. “These ladies have had a few firsts this year, and I’m excited to be a part of their first opportunity.”
Texas Southern (23-9), seeded second, ended the 12-game winning streak of the top-seeded and SWAC co-champion Grambling State (18-14) by scoring the last seven points of the game.
TOLEDO 82, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 71: Mikaela Boyd scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the sixth-seeded Rockets in the MidAmerican Conference championship in Cleveland.
Toledo earned its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2001.
Olivia Cunningham added 20 points for Toledo (25-8), which took down defending MAC tournament champion Buffalo in the semifinals.
“I’m just so proud of our kids because we didn’t have a MAC player of the week all season long on our team,” Toledo Coach Tricia Cullop said.
Ally Lehman led Northern Illinois (21-11) with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.
HAMPTON 52, BETHUNECOOKMAN 49: Jephany Brown and Mikayla Sayle each scored 10 points to lead the Pirates (19-12) to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship over the Wildcats (21-9) in Norfolk.
Georgianna Gilbeaux made a free throw with 10 seconds left to give Hampton a three-point lead; the Wildcats missed a potentially tying three-pointer with two seconds left, and Gilbeaux got the rebound to secure the win.
MONTANA STATE 62, IDAHO STATE 56: Peyton Ferris scored 23 points to help the topseeded Bobcats (25-6) claim the Big Sky tournament in Reno, Nev.
Montana State earned its first NCAA tournament berth since 1993. The Bengals (19-14) jumped to a 12-2 lead in the first seven minutes.
WESTERN KENTUCKY 67, SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI 56: In Birmingham, Ala., the Toppers (27-6) won their second Conference USA tournament title in three years and ride a 12-game winning streak into the NCAA tournament after claiming the automatic bid. They got off to a fast start in this one, making 17 of 32 first-half shots and building a 4124 halftime lead.
The Golden Eagles finished 2310.
LONG BEACH STATE 56, SANTA BARBARA 55: Anna Kim scored 15 points, and Madison Montgomery drained a clutch three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to clinch an NCAA tournament berth for the 49ers (23-10) in the Mountain West title game in Anaheim. The Gauchos finished 16-16. NEW MEXICO STATE 63, SEATTLE 48: The Aggies (24-6) won their third consecutive Western Athletic Conference tournament in Las Vegas. The Redhawks (15-17) earned a spot in the Women’s NIT. New Mexico State held Seattle to 18 points in the first half.