Clarksville, Ark.-The Lady Eagles (18-6), (9-3) won their second American Southwest Conference East Division Co-Championship since joining the ASC and will host the four team post-season tournament after a 83-67 victory over LeTourneau University.
The Lady Eagles earn the East’s number one seed and will take on Howard Payne University on February 22 at 7:30 p.m. "It’s great for our kids and great for our program," said head coach Jack Jones on earning a conference championship. "This was especially satisfying because of the adversity we overcame this year. We had a couple of key injuries and we also had a few kids that didn’t come back from last season. But our team had a sense of togetherness this year." Senior center Christie Shuffield continues to put up impressive numbers in big games. Shuffield scored 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in today’s victory. She is averaging 20.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots per game over the last four conference contests. "Christie has played tremendous over the last several ball games because of her aggressiveness and her will to win," said Jones. "I can’t say enough about what Christie has done for our program. She’s shown a lot of leadership and has had a great attitude all year long. Sarah Williams and Charity Tyree are our other seniors who have contributed tremendously too. Sarah is a team leader and the type of kid you like to have around your program. Charity has never played college basketball until this season, so to do what she’s done is a great accomplishment." The Lady Eagles held just a one point lead at halftime, but quickly turned things around in the second half. A Jennifer Goodwin three-pointer at the 10:04 mark put the Lady Eagles ahead 56-44. Jenna Corbell pushed the lead to 69-56 with a jumper at the 5:31 mark to put the Lady Eagles in controlled for the remainder of the game. Corbell, who finished with 15 points, nailed 4-of-8 from the three-point line. Kristy Watts contributed 21 points and had 4 rebounds. The tournament’s second game on February 22 will match up Hardin-Simmons and East Texas Baptist at 5:30 p.m. The Championship game will be played on February 23 at 3:00 p.m. with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA III tournament. Howard Payne is the only school to defeat nationally ranked Hardin Simmons this season and Jones believes the Lady Yellow Jackets present a competitive match up of two teams full of confidence. "I don’t think either team is overpowering at any position," said Jones. "They try to push the ball up the court and their guards do an excellent job of penetrating into the lane. They are playing with a lot of confidence and so are we." The Lady Eagles defeated Howard Payne 80-73 in overtime on January 5 in Brownwood, Texas.