ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (March 11, 2017) – Rollins defense smothered the potent Eckerd offense as the five-seed Tars upset top-seed Eckerd 55-43 to earn a spot in the NCAA Division II South Region semifinals.
Rollins (22-7) will now meet second-seeded West Florida in the championship game in St. Petersburg at 7 p.m. Monday night.
Marie Gilbert led three Tars scoring in double-figures with 14 points to go along with six rebounds. Fellow senior Tanaya Jones added 12 point and five rebounds while Denise Daniels scored 11 points off the bench.
Chelsea Johnson and Kacie Juday each scored nine to lead Eckerd, who was held to its under 59 points for the first time all season.
Rollins allowed Eckerd to shoot just 12-of-51 from the field on its home court.
The Tars are back in the South Region final for the fourth time in program history and the first since 2012 when they won it all.
HIGHLIGHTS AND QUARTER BY QUARTER ANALYSIS First Quarter | Early in the first quarter, The Tars and Tritons both took a bit to settle into the game. Marie Gilbert got the Tars offense going with five straight points to open up the game. The Tritons didn’t get a field goal until the 6:01 mark in the first quarter, mainly due to the tars high intensity defense. The Tritons started to heat up towards the end of the quarter, with back-to-back three point shots by Anna Deegan and Chelsea Johnson. The Tars ended the quarter on a Jones jump shot that was good, and took a slight 10-8 lead into the second quarter.
Second Quarter | Both teams opened the second quarter up with successful three point shots made by the Tritons Ada Yalcin, and the Tars Jasmine Stone. The Tars and Tritons continued to trade points throughout the second quarter, until the Tars took a five-point lead with 5:49 to play in the quarter. The tars five-point lead wasn’t enough as they kept pushing for more and increased the lead to eight behind a Denise Daniels jump shot. Their eight-point lead was cut to just six just before halftime, as they took a 29-23 lead into the locker room.
Third Quarter | For the second straight quarter, the Tars opened up with a successful 3 point shot by Gilbert. Behind some tough defense, the tars lead began to really open up behind Jones layup and the foul, bringing the lead to 11. The Tritons went on a run of their own, Cutting the lead to as close as seven points. The Tars battled back, taking the seven-point lead and turning it into as many as 12. Going into the final quarter, the Tritons were able to cut the Tars lead down to eight, after a few late free throws.
Fourth Quarter | This time it was the Tritons who opened up the quarter with a three-point field goal by Johnson which cut the Tars lead to just five. The Tars answered with a Julia Ingler three pointer of their own, bringing the lead back to a more comfortable seven points. After a series of stops by both teams defense, the Tritons resorted to fouling the Tars to try and get back late in the game. The Tars were able to hit 19 of their 27 free throws to close and win 55-43, advancing to the South Region Finals against West Florida.
GAME NOTES • Rollins won the season series with Eckerd 2-1 with both wins coming in St. Pete. Rollins was the only team to beat the Tritons at home this season. • Rollins is now 13-15 all-time in NCAA Tournament history and 2-1 as the No. 5 seed. • Rollins is in the NCAA Division II South Region Championship game for the fourth-time in program history. • Carly McLendon now has 102 blocks, just three behind Joslyn Giles for seventh on the Tars all-time list. • Glenn Wilks Jr. is now 685-234 in 31 seasons as the Tars head coach.
NEXT UP FOR THE TARS Rollins will meet West Florida in the finals on Monday, March 13 at 7 p.m. at Eckerd College. Fans can catch all the action live on the Geico Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com and locally on 91.5 FM WPRK.