Eagles Claim 1st KIAC Title
WILMORE, Ky. – A historic year for the Asbury women’s basketball team continued on Tuesday night with the program’s first Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship after an 88-83 win over Alice Lloyd. The Eagles are co-Champs with Indiana Southeast, both finishing 9-2 in league play.
It didn’t always look to be a historic night for the Eagles but more of a historic collapse. Asbury (17-11, 9-2 KIAC) needed to win only two of their final three games to claim their first title, and after splitting the first two had to defeat Alice Lloyd on Tuesday.
The Eagles would take a one-point lead into halftime at 44-43 after allowing Alice Lloyd to shoot at a 54 percent clip in the first half. In the second half, Alice Lloyd wrestled the lead from Asbury for only two short moments at 66-65 and 68-67 inside the final ten minutes. That’s when Laura Carroll took control of the game, scoring eight of the final 21 points, including four free throws to seal the game down the stretch. The junior guard finished with a team-high 27 points and seven assists. Carroll also pulled down four rebounds and had four steals.
Fellow junior Trenia Barbee scored 25 points and also handed out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds. Asbury dished out 23 assists on the night. Senior Ellen Gray finished with 19 points and connected on five-of-nine from beyond the three-point line. Gray currently leads NAIA II in three-point percentage at .494.
Asbury turned 23 Alice Lloyd turnovers into 21 points. The Eagles committed only 15 turnovers and Alice Lloyd did not score once off of those. Both teams pulled in 32 rebounds.
Alice Lloyd (11-20, 6-5 KIAC) shot 49 percent from the floor as Asbury connected on 46 percent. Ariel Nickell led Alice Lloyd with 35 points and 12 rebounds. The sophomore made 13-of-15 from the free throw line as Alice Lloyd made 24-of-28. Asbury was 14-of-15 from the foul line.
Asbury will be the top seed in the KIAC Tournament and will receive a bye into the semi-finals of the seven team tournament. The Eagles hold the tie-breaker over Indiana Southeast after defeating the Grenadiers in both meetings this year. Asbury won’t play again until Monday, Feb. 27, at 1 p.m. at Berea against the winner of the 4/5 matchup between Berea and Brescia. Alice Lloyd takes the third seed and will play Midway. All first-round matchups will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25.