Women's Game Recaps #79 - 3/21/17

* Queens fell at the first hurdle at the Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio, losing a hard-fought national quarterfinal clash to Harding (Searcy, Arkansas), 73-69. The setback ends the Knights best-ever Division II campaign with 27 wins (a program standard) and finishes the career of All-American Madison Rowland, one of the top players in the nation. Queens led for the majority of the first half with their advantage peaking at nine points on a couple of occasions in the first quarter (the final time at 18-9). It was a 21-14 lead after one frame for the Knights but the Lady Bison (31-3) drew even at 23 less than four minutes into the second period. MacKenzie Rowland (23 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocked shots) gave Queens a 29-25 edge with 3:27 left in the half but a 6-0 Harding burst handed them their first lead of the game, 31-29 (1:36). The Lady Bison held a 33-31 lead at the intermission and they stormed out of the gate in the second half to extend their lead. After a trade of early third period baskets, the Lady Bison posted a 13-0 spree to widen their lead to a game-high fifteen points, 48-33. Sydnie Jones (22 points, 17 rebounds, 11-17 FG in 28 bench minutes) notched six of the points in the span, during which QC missed seven shots and committed five turnovers. The Knights ended the dry spell thanks to a MacKenzie Rowland basket, quickly followed by a pair of Merrick Rowland three-pointers and the gap was down to 48-41. Jones tossed in four more points in a 6-0 Harding burst to end the quarter with the Lady Bison on top, 57-45. Queens launched their best spell of the contest to begin the fourth period, a 13-0 explosion featuring a pair of Beth Bonin triples to even matters at 58 with 6:04 to play. Harding answered with a quick 6-0 spell, started by an A'ndrea Haney (15 points) trey and ended by another Jones basket, and they had a lead they never again lost (64-58, 4:47). Queens stayed in the game and came within 71-69 at the 1:04 mark after a pair of MacKenzie Rowland free throws and got the ball back thanks to a Harding miss at the :45 mark. A turnover killed their chance to tie or take a lead, though, and two Haney free throws with :12 left iced the game for the Lady Bison and booked their spot in the national semifinals. Madison Rowland submitted a typically active line (19 points, 7 rebounds, 10 steals, 8-9 FT) and ends her career with 2,375 points along with a raft of ECC and Queens records. Harding had the edge in shooting (48%-35% FG) and off the glass (47-39) but the Knights forced nine more turnovers (29-20) to help them stay the course and nearly prevail at the end.