Majors Defeat Southwestern To Earn Birth in Program's First Championship Game
Coach Winelman Interview
Birmingham, Ala. – The Millsaps Majors Women's Basketball Team will play for its second SCAC Title in school history and a chance for its first outright title on afternoon against Centre at 2:30 p.m. The Majors went through the Southwestern Pirates on Saturday evening as they came through with free throws late to pull away and take the 63-55 win.
The Majors wasted little time as they got baskets from junior Shante Morton and sophomore Shatoya White followed by a three pointer from freshman Velvet Johnson. The Pirates responded with a 16-4 run to take a 16-11 lead at the 10:39 mark.
Millsaps began to go down in the paint to Morton and senior Janice Okeke to power their way back into the game. The Majors retook the lead at 20-19 after a layup by freshman Samantha Perez. The two teams traded basketball back and forth as they lead continuously changed.
A layup by Cara Sheffer gave Southwestern a 25-24 lead, but Millsaps closed the half on a 8-0 run. It started with a jumper from junior Lovie Love followed by a layup from Johnson. With time winding down, White drove the lane and hit a layup with 15 seconds remaining. The Pirates tried to respond as Chelsea Leeder went hard towards the basket, but Morton stopped her in her tracks with a block and launched a pass down court to Johnson who laid it in as time expired to give Millsaps a 32-25 lead at half.
Southwestern quickly erased the seven-point deficit and made it a three-point game after a three pointer from Anna Fareed. Perez responded with a three pointer of her own to put Millsaps up five.
The Majors then extended their lead to 41-34 after layups from Morton and Johnson. However, those pesky Pirates would not go away as they got it down to three and then tied the game at the 10:19 mark at 43.
Both teams exchanged baskets before Johnson came up huge again as she buried a three to put Millsaps up. The two teams continued to trade points as Millsaps continued to hold a three-point lead throughout.
Morton then came through with a big three to put Millsaps up 55-51 at the 5:31 mark. After a Leeder layup, Morton spotted up for another three and missed, but tracked down her own rebound and laid it in to put Millsaps up four.
Leeder came back with two more points and Southwestern got a stop and a chance to tie or take the lead down 57-55. Leeder tried to drive the paint, but Okeke came up with a huge block and then hustled down to the other end to pull down an offensive rebound and finish with a put back to put the Majors up 61-55.
The Majors then got a stop and used free throws the rest of the way from Johnson to finish off Southwestern and take the 63-55 win.
Morton picked up her second double-double of the tournament and 15th of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Johnson also added 18 points as both players hit many clutch shots all night. Okeke picked up nine points and 14 rebounds as she closes in on the record for rebounds in a single SCAC tournament. Love also came up big with six points and pulled down six rebounds.
The Majors advance to their first SCAC Championship Game and have a chance to play for their second SCAC Championship in school history and first outright title. They take on the Centre Colonels, a team who seems to have the Majors number so far this season with two wins. Tipoff is set for 2:30 at Bill Battle Coliseum on the campus of Birmingham-Southern.