UNIONTOWN, Pa. – After starting the game behind 7-0, the Owls women's basketball team clawed their way back to defeat the University of Maine – Fort Kent in the USCAA National Championship Game.
Junior forward Qiayon Bailey went 12-for-17 from the floor and 4-for-7 at the free-throw line to lead the Owls with a season-high of 28 points. The West Point, Miss. native also pulled down two offensive boards and five defensive boards to rack up seven rebounds. Because of her effort, she received All-Tournament Team honors and was named Championship Game MVP.
Senior forward Tenazhia Hinkson pulled off her fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Autumn Taylor rounded out the double-digit scoring effort with 13 points. As a result of their performance, both ladies were named to the All-Tournament team along with Bailey.
The W got off to a slow start, allowing the Bengals to pull ahead 7-0 to kick-off the first quarter.
Bailey scored the Owls first two points of the game after going to the line after a shooting foul which was followed by a layup by Keyahna Jones to cut the Bengals lead to 7-4.
After missed opportunities on both ends of the court, Fort Kent added three and Taylor added two for the Owls to close the quarter 10-6.
The W came back in the second quarter with a different defensive strategy that kept the Bengals off the board and regrouped offensively to tie. A layup by Bailey and a jump shot by Meosha Barnum evened the score at 10.
Shots landed for both teams but another basket by Bailey gave the Owls their first lead of the game with 3:52 left in the half.
The Owls remained ahead of the Bengals for the rest of the period to end the half with a 23-20 lead.
After returning from halftime, The W kept Fort Kent scoreless for most of the third quarter while going on a 15-point run.
The Bengals finally made an appearance on the board with a 2-point jumper at 2:45 but The W continued its scoring run to take the quarter 38-25.
In the final period, Fort Kent scrambled to overcome its 13-point deficit but they were no match for the Owls defense. The W scored 31 points in the quarter while holding the Bengals to 21 to defeat Fort Kent and take the national title.
As a team, the Owls performed better than that had in most of the regular season. From the field, the Owls shot 51.1 percent including 22.2 percent in three-point range. They also performed better than their season average at the line shooting 61.3 percent.