Lincoln, IL- The Women's Basketball team headed out west to Lincoln Christian University to play in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament for the second straight season. The team entered tonight's game having already won 19 games, breaking the previous record of 17 held by the 2017-18 team. The Falcons drew the #5 seed, the Wilberforce University Bulldogs, who owned a 12-11 record heading into the quarterfinal matchup. Despite leading 19-15 after the first quarter, the Falcons were unable to hold off the surging Bulldogs and fell 71-59, ending their season. Wilberforce will now face the #1 seeded College of the Ozarks Saturday at 2pm.
WU got off to a hot start taking an early 6-0 lead on back-to-back three-pointers by Nia McCormick, but the Falcons quickly responded with a pair of 3s from Vivian Lara (Norwalk, CA) and Jocelyn Mendoza (Morgan Hill, CA) to tie the game at 8 a piece. The Falcons then went on a 7-0 run paced by two more three's from Lara and Choon-Hee Chae (Kyle, TX) to go up 15-8 giving them what would be their biggest lead of the game. The Bulldogs would get it back to within four over the last minute of play in the first with the Falcons leading 19-15 after ten minutes of play. After a Jenny-Lynn Eggers (Sonoma, CA) bucket to start the second giving the Falcons a 23-17 lead, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 27-25 using a 10-2 run with 4:02 left before the half. After four lead changes over the next two minutes, WU would take a 37-32 lead into the locker room after an Alexandra Shealey 3-pointer just before the half.
The Falcons would score first out of the break as Lara converted on a pair of free throws to bring her team within three, but another 10-1 run would put the Bulldogs up 47-35 with 5:48 on the clock in the third. Five straight points from Chae would give the Falcons a chance to get back into the game heading into the fourth trailing 52-44. Another Lara 3-pointer on the Falcons first possession in the fourth jump-started the Falcons bench and got them back to within five of WU at the 9:47 mark. WU's McCormick quickly responded though, with her own 3 to give the Bulldogs the 8-point lead right back. Chae knocked down another jumper seconds later bringing the score to 55-49 with 6:04 remaining, but that's as close as the Falcons would get as they could not claw their way any closer and would fall 71-59.
Three different Falcons tallied double figures in the losing effort with Vivian Lara leading the way with 21 points to go along with five steals. Chae and Eggers had 16 and 11 points respectively, and combined for 11 rebounds while shooting 58% from the floor (11 for 19). Mendoza, playing in her last game as a Falcon, finished with a team-high six boards. The Bulldogs were led by McCormick who led all scorers with 25 points on 10 for 16 shooting (63%). Shealey and Malika Wildon also notched double figures for the winners as they each had 11 points, with Shealey also collecting a team-high eight boards. The Bulldogs also forced 27 Falcons turnovers, leading to 26 of their points in the victory.
The Falcons will finish their season with a 19-11 record.