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No. 4 Southeastern Claims Top Spot in TSC Tournament Field for Fourth Consecutive Year
LAKELAND, Fla.- For the first time in Sun Conference history, a team has won four consecutive conference tournaments. The feat was accomplished by the top-seeded Southeastern University Fire, who upended the third-seeded College of Coastal Georgia Mariners 99-60 in the tournament final.
“To have four different groups that worked very hard, did a great job, and each year found a way to win a championship says a lot about these girls and what this culture is all about,” shared head coach Tim Hays.
The Fire were fueled from the onset of the contest, opening up the first quarter on a 9-0 run. Senior forward Elsa Paulsson-Glantz bucketed eight of those nine points.
Freshman guard Raegan Linster was a force off the bench for SEU, scoring five points in the final 1:22 of the first quarter to put the Fire ahead of the Mariners 23-8 after the first 10 minutes of play.
Linster scored 14 of her team-leading and career-high 18 points in the first half, going 4-6 from three-point range during that stretch.
Southeastern was electric as a unit from the perimeter in the first half. The Fire hit 12 of their 13 three pointers made in the first 20 minutes of action.
“Early on in the game, the ball movement was there and we were getting open looks. The perimeter shooting was pivotal to our fast start,” added Coach Hays.
Junior center Marlena Schmidt was a force in the paint, recording five of her seven blocked shots in the first half.
A buzzer-beater three pointer by senior forward Emma Karamovic off a dime from senior point guard Halee Printz put the Fire ahead 51-29 at the half.
The strong start proved to be crucial, as SEU played an evenly paced second half with CCGA (39-37).
The Mariners could not trim the Fire lead to any lower than 18 in the fourth quarter.
For the fifth time this season, Printz tied her career-high in assists at 12, distributing seven helpers in the first half and five in the second.
Schmidt finished the championship game with 16 points and eight rebounds to accompany her seven stuffed shots.
Senior guard Jaycee Coe totaled 15 points to go along with five rebounds. Karamovic scored 11 off the bench.
Schmidt earned placement on the All-Tournament Team after averaging 16 points, 8.5 rebounds, and five blocks per TSC postseason game.
Coe was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after averaging 19.5 points, six rebounds, and hitting nine threes in conference postseason play.
The Fire await to see their draw in the field of the 2019 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa.