ST. PAUL, Minn. – The NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16 between the Marymount (Va.) University women's basketball team and undefeated No. 3 University of St. Thomas did not disappoint on Friday night, seeing 10 lead changes and neither team gaining any more than a single-digit advantage.
In a battle between the 17th-ranked defense in the Saints and the 19th-ranked offense in the Tommies, the offense played more effective in the final stretch in favor of St. Thomas, as it reclaimed a late lead over the Saints to take the 62-55 decision and bring Marymount's season to a close.
The Saints, guided by a team-high 14 points by senior Kiki Laux, kept a close-knit battle through the first quarter, trailing by just three, 14-10. That deficit was quickly erased on the restart when Laux dropped in back-to-back layups, while the Saint defense held the Tommies scoreless through the first three minutes to draw it even at 14-14.
Although St. Thomas took back over the lead on its first bucket of the second quarter, Marymount answered with six-straight points to gain its largest lead to that point in the game at 20-16. Freshman Regan Lohr, without hesitation, dropped in a deep ball to take over the lead before junior Nicole Viscuso went strong to the rim for the and-one finish.
By the half, the Tommies maneuvered their way back ahead to take a 28-26 advantage into the locker room.
The third quarter started out into the favor of St. Thomas, building up to its largest lead of the game by the 6:26 mark, going up eight off back-to-back layups. But, that didn't shy away the Saints, battling back with a 15-6 run to close out the final five minutes of the period including a half-court buzzer beater by junior Leah Hurst to give MU a 46-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter and a momentum swing that held for quite some time.
Feeding off the energy of the comeback, the Saints opened the final period with five-straight points off a layup by sophomore Tyffani McQueen and an and-one finish inside by Laux to push Marymount's largest lead, 51-45.
However, the Tommies found some offense, firing off eight points of their own to take back over the lead late in the final quarter, which would stand the rest of the way.
Another great season for the Saints comes to a close with a 24-6 overall record and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Marymount says farewell to just one senior, as Laux concludes her career donning the blue and white with 727 points, 440 rebounds, 95 assists, and 76 steals in 99 total games played.