Erin Meeks hit a tiebreaking free throw with 2.8 seconds left in overtime and the East Texas Baptist women’s basketball team ended St. Thomas’ season, winning 61-58 on the NCAA Division III sectional semifinal Friday in Waverly, Iowa.
Hannah Spaulding had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the sixth-ranked Tommies, who played in the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in seven years. But their 20-game winning streak ended, as did their season at 27-3.
Meeks grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. The 52 percent free-throw shooter missed the first but made the second. After a timeout, St. Thomas turned the ball over without getting a shot off, Madison McCoy hit two free throws and the Tommies’ final three-point attempt at the buzzer was deflected by Kim Childress.
East Texas Baptist (25-6), which went 3-22 last season, had no players reach 10 points, but 10 scored in all for the Tigers. They will play host Wartburg on Saturday for a spot in the Final Four, which is next weekend in Rochester.
St. Thomas only led once in the game, when Spaulding completed a three-point play with 1 minute, 26 seconds left in regulation for a 53-52 lead. Sydney Saxton made one of two free throws at the other end to tie the score with 1:14 to play, and neither team managed to score the rest of regulation, with the Tommies’ Lauren Fischer missing a three-pointer from the corner before the regulation buzzer.
In overtime, the Tigers led 58-54 on short jumpers from Amanda Wilson and Kim Childress. Spaulding made one of two free throws with 1:16 left, and St. Thomas’ Kaylie Brazil tied the score on a three-pointer with 24.8 seconds to play.
Thomas More 75, Gustavus Adolphus 67: Madison Temple scored 25 points and the Saints (29-1), ranked No. 3 in D-III, beat the Gusties (24-7) in a sectional semifinal in Holland, Mich.
Thomas More took control with a 10-1 run in the third quarter after Gustavus tied the score 34-34. The Gusties got within five twice in the fourth quarter but no closer.
Mikayla Miller led Gustavus with 20 points, and Miranda Rice added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Division II women
Central Missouri 66, Minnesota State Moorhead 49: Paige Redmond scored 19 points, Meggan Skaggs added 17 and the Jennies (25-3) defeated the Dragons (23-6) in the first round of the NCAA Central Region in Sioux Falls.
Central Missouri, the region’s No. 2 seed, jumped out to a 26-12 lead after one quarter and led by as many as 26 points in the third.
Drew Sannes (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Megan Hintz (10 points, 12 rebounds) each finished with double-doubles for No. 7 seed Minnesota State Moorhead.
The Dragons shot 36.7 percent from the floor and lost for the third time in four games after a 16-game winning streak. They lost the regular-season finale to Minnesota Duluth when a victory would have given them the NSIC title outright, then lost in the closing seconds of the quarterfinals of the NSIC tournament to Sioux Falls.
Also in the region, Northern State beat Arkansas Tech 76-65 and Augustana routed Lindenwood 75-41, and the two NSIC schools from South Dakota will play Saturday night