CHAMPIONS! Panthers win first SAA title

photo by Michael Wade
photo by Michael Wade

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The Birmingham-Southern women's basketball team continued its historic season on Sunday, winning the 2016 Southern Athletic Association Championship with a 52-42 victory over Millsaps in Bill Battle Coliseum.

The Panthers moved to 24-3, and will receive the SAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, which begins next weekend. Millsaps ended its season with a record of 19-9.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Both teams struggled offensively through the first and second periods, combining to go 0-9 from three-point range in the second.
  • The score was tied 10-10 at the end of the first, and the second period was close as well, with BSC leading 20-18 at the half.
  • Millsaps opened the third period with a layup to tie it up, but the Panthers used an 8-0 run to pull up 28-20 by the 7:21 mark.
  • The Majors scored five straight to cut it to three, but BSC scored seven straight to pull ahead by 10, 35-25.
  • After a pair of Millsaps free throws, junior Jameice Holmes hit a three-pointer with six seconds left in the third to put the Panthers up 38-27 heading to the fourth.
  • BSC kept a comfortable lead through the fourth period, going up by as much as 16, 48-32, with 2:52 left to play.
  • Millsaps ended the game on a 10-4 run, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Panthers, who won by 10.

NOTABLE

  • Junior Jasmynn Batts led all players with 20 points, going 7-8 from the field and 5-6 at the free throw line; she was named Tournament MVP for her efforts.
  • Senior Yorisha Bryant added 11 points and was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
  • Bryant and Holmes led with seven rebounds apiece, and senior Ashley Curry dished out five assists.
  • BSC has had its best season in program history, winning its first conference title and achieving the best record in 16 seasons, and now will earn the program's first-ever NCAA post-season bid.

UP NEXT

  • The Panthers will play in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Championship, which begins Friday, March 4.
  • Seedings and locations will be announced during the selection show which airs tomorrow, Feb. 29, at 1:30 p.m. CST on NCAA.com.