It was shaping up to be the Vincennes University women playing Wabash Valley for the Region 24 title. For the second year in a row, Rend Lake got in the way.
The physical third-seeded Warriors pushed the second-seeded Lady Trailblazers out of their comfort zone in the second quarter. From there they led the entire second half on their way to an 83-71 semifinal victory Thursday at the P.E. Complex.
Amani Brown led five VU double-figure scorers with 19 points, but the Blazers (17-4) were held to 36 percent shooting and were out-rebounded 46-33 by Rend Lake (14-5). It was the second year in a row VU was the second seed in the region and ousted in the semifinals by the Warriors.
Like last year, it was unexpected. The Blazers entered Thursday on a 10-game winning streak, defeating Rend Lake twice and 12th-ranked Wabash Valley in that stretch.
Megan Barton and Dais'Ja Trotter were the stars for the Warriors. Barton scored 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting, and Trotter collected 22 points and 16 rebounds. Rend Lake was also almost flawless at the free-throw line, netting 18-of-19 attempts. VU was just 6-of-11 from the stripe.
VU's biggest lead was at 14-7. The hosts led 23-19 after one quarter and 31-27 midway in the second quarter before the Warriors took over.
Rend Lake strung 11 points together to build a 38-31 lead on its way to a 40-35 halftime advantage. Barton had four in that stretch, two coming on a technical foul when VU's Alexis Radcliff shoved Trotter on a Blazers inbounds play. Less than two minutes later, both teams were simultaneously called for intentional fouls as the play continued to get chippy.
VU rebounded in the second half after a 12-point second quarter.
Nina Blade finished an eight-point spurt with a pair of baskets, getting the Blazers to within 52-50 with 3:37 to go in the third quarter. A Brown 3-pointer with 7:20 to go cut Rend Lake's lead to 64-62.
But at 70-66, the Warriors tallied the next 11 points, holding VU without a point for more than four minutes. Ma'Kayla Marshall started the run with a 3-pointer and finished it with two free throws to give Rend Lake a commanding edge, 81-66, with just 1:05 remaining.
The Blazers entire starting five, all sophomores, scored in double figures as the bench accounted for just two points.
Shaila Beeler collected 15 points and six assists, scoring nine of the team's first 12 points when VU forged its early seven-point lead. Radcliff posted 13 points and 11 rebounds, Nina Blade 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Reeva Hammelman 10 points.
The Warriors play at top-seeded Wabash Valley at 7 p.m. Friday, with the winner advancing to the NJCAA championships.
REND LAKE 83, VINCENNES 71
Trotter (f) 7-20 6-6 22, Hallermann (c) 5-10 2-2 12, Marshall (g) 2-5 3-4 9, Barton (g) 11-18 5-5 27, Danfort (g) 5-10 2-2 13, McCowen 0-4 0-0 0, Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Bruns 0-1 0-0 0, Helm 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 30-69 18-19 83.
Radcliff (f) 6-12 1-4 13, Blade (f) 6-8 0-1 12, Beeler (g) 6-18 2-2 15, Brown (g) 8-24 1-2 19, Hammelman (g) 3-15 2-2 10, Harris 0-4 0-0 0, Russell 0-0 0-0 0, Raynor 1-1 0-0 2, Lascorz 0-1 0-0 0, Brown-Griffin 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 30-84 6-11 71.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Rend Lake|19-21-22-21 — 83
Vincennes |23-12-22-14 — 71
3-pointers: Rend Lake 5-27 (Marshall 2-3, Trotter 2-13, Danfort 1-3, Hallermann 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Barton 0-2, McCowen 0-4). VU 5-21 (Brown 2-7, Hammelman 2-8, Beeler 1-5, Blade 0-1). Rebounds: Rend Lake 46 (Trotter 12), VU 33 (Radcliff 11, Blade 10). Turnovers: Rend Lake 20, VU 13. Fouls: Rend Lake 15, VU 21. Technical fouls: Radcliff.