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Cavs' Rally Comes Up Short Against No. 4 LCU

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SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

No. 4-ranked Lubbock Christian staved off a fierce St. Gregory's rally in the second half, securing a 70-58 win Thursday at the Noble Complex to advance to the semifinals of the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament. The second-seeded Lady Chaps saw a 19-point halftime lead shrink to five but stemmed the tide late to win for the sixth time in seven games.

LCU's Kelsey Canavan led all scorers with 17 points on 8 of 14 shooting. SAC Freshman of the Year Ayrionna Taylor led the Cavs with 15. Leticia Silva scored 13 for SGU.

"The girls gave it their all, and that's all I ask for," said SGU coach Herman Burge. "They kept battling, but we fell just short. I told them at halftime that they only had 20 minutes left in their season, and that's all I really needed to say to get them motivated."

The Lady Chaps held a 46-25 advantage on the boards, proving to be a difference-maker in a game decided down the stretch. LCU had 20 offensive rebounds and turned them into 19 second-chance points.

SGU shot 52 percent during its second-half rally after managing only six field goals in the first 20 minutes. The Cavs held the top shooting team in the NAIA to only 44 percent from the floor for the game.

Neither team got off to a good start offensively as LCU missed 12 of its first 15, while SGU made only 4 of 12. It was tied at 8 with 13:05 to go in the half when the Lady Chaps finally got into a groove. Over the next 8:30, LCU was 7-for-10 from the floor amid a 17-2 run that broke the game open.

The Lady Chaps extended it to 34-15 at halftime after making 11 of their final 16 shots of the period. They shot 45 percent overall, compared to only 25 percent for the Cavs. LCU also had a 25-11 advantage on the boards, which led to eight second-chance points. Canavan led all scorers with eight points on 4 of 6 shooting in the first half.

SGU got it going in the second half, making its first three shots during an 8-2 spurt to cut it to 36-23. The Lady Chaps extended it back to 18 after an Emily Atkins three-pointer at the 16:11 mark, but the Cavs responded again - this time via a 19-6 run to cut it to 51-46 with just more than eight minutes remaining. A Kalie Lucas driving layup and Heather Anderson free throw capped that run.

LCU finally curbed SGU's momentum, scoring the game's next seven points. After Courtney Wilson's conventional three-point play with 6:09 to go, the lead was back to 12. The Cavs didn't get closer than eight the rest of the way.

"I'm very proud of the way the girls battled all season," Burge said. "They had opportunities to quit, but they never did."

SGU concludes the season at 12-19. Seniors Silva and Anderson played their final games as Cavaliers.

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