In double OT thriller, Lubbock Christian claims NCAA crown
For the second time in four seasons, Lubbock Christian University…
Lubbock Christian University continued its remarkable run of dominance in NCAA Division II women’s basketball on Friday night, beating Drury (Mo.) 69-59 in the national championship game in Columbus, Ohio.
LCU, which is associated with Churches of Christ, finished the pandemic-abbreviated season with a 23-0 record and the Chaparrals will take a 35-game winning streak into next season. Under coach Steve Gomez, Lubbock Christian also won Division II titles in 2016 and 2019 and was one of the favorites to win the 2020 title before the NCAA canceled the postseason due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Chaparrals are the first program in Division II history to have two undefeated national-championship seasons, as they went 35-0 during the 2015-16 season. LCU is the fifth program to claim the title in consecutive tournaments (the first since Cal Poly Pomona in 2001 and 2002) and the fifth to win at least three national championships.
Remarkably, they’ve put up those numbers during only six years of membership in Division II.
“Just keep striving for excellence,” Gomez told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “It doesn’t mean you always succeed and win, but if you’re heading towards excellence good things will happen. In the classroom, they’re tremendous. Out in the community, they’re tremendous. On the court, they’ve been pretty tremendous, too.”
Senior Allie Schulte of Nazareth, Texas, scored 18 points in the win over Drury (24-2) and was named as the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. Senior Emma Middleton of Lubbock, Texas, had 12 points and 10 rebounds and joined Schulte on the all-tournament team. Both players earlier had received All-America honors from various organizations.
LCU built a 10-point lead in the first quarter against Drury and never trailed after that. The Chaparrals held a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter before a late rally by Drury closed the gap to 63-59, but Ashton Duncan hit two clutch free throws and the Panthers came no closer. Drury is 91-3 over the last three seasons, with two of those losses to Lubbock Christian.
“What a mature group,” Gomez said. “Everybody filled in where we had some gaps … It really comes out of more instinct on our players’ part than any big coaching strategy. It was just a team working together, not only on offense – a lot of times you think teamwork on offense – but our team really works together on defense.”
To reach the title game, Lubbock Christian defeated Cameron (Okla.) 96-66 and Southwestern Oklahoma State 78-65 to win the South Central Region championship , then downed Daemen (N.Y.) 66-49 and Central Missouri 63-61 in the Elite Eight before facing Drury.
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