Kansas City, Mo. -- Emporia State broke a two-game losing streak in the MIAA Championship with a 67-51 victory over Central Missouri. The Lady Hornets are the first team to earn an MIAA Tournament Championship other than Northwest Missouri and Washburn since the tournament moved to Kansas City in 2003.
Central Missouri jumped out to the early lead, going up by as much as five points early leading through two media timeouts. Emporia State would rebound going on a 13-2 run to give themselves a seven point advantage. A three pointer by Rheanna Egli with 21 seconds to play gave ESU the 31-23 lead going into halftime. Emporia State would push that lead to double-digits early in the second and half and would not let UCM get any closer than five points as they won their first Tournament title since 2001 which broke a streak of four straight titles.
The Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament Merissa Quick scored 22 points to lead not only Emporia State, but all scorers. Rachel Hanf scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds for ESU. Rheanna Egli scored 10 points but also dished out a game high seven assists. Jocelyn Cummings had 11 rebounds and Sarah Wood added ten as two Hornets finished with double-digit rebounds. For the Jennies All-Tournament performer Keuna Flax had a double-double with 21 points and added 11 rebounds. Nicole Caddell had her third double-double of the tournament with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
The Lady Hornets earn the conferences automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Tournament and will play in next week's Central Regional. All other MIAA teams will await their fate on tonight's selection show scheduled for 9 p.m. CST at ncaa.com.
Merissa Quick, Emporia State (Most Outstanding Player)
Laura Patrick, Emporia State
BreAnna Lewis, Central Missouri
Keuna Flax, Central Missouri
Kate Lehman, Washburn
Notes: ESU won the National title in 2010, but did not win the conference regular season or tournament title that season. The Lady Hornets last MIAA Tournament Championship came in 2001 on their home floor defeating Missouri Western 78-52 on that night. They Lady Hornets were 1-1 as a number four seed coming into the tournament, but now sport the tournaments best four seed record at 4-1. The Lady Hornets are the first team since the tournament began (1983) to win the MIAA Tournament as a four seed. They are only the third team to earn a seed lower than #3 to win the tournament since it began.