Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 2, 2014

Lady Rams fall to Tigers, will meet again in MSC tourney

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — At least the Lady Rams will know what to expect.

Bluefield College will play Campbellsville for the second time in six days on Friday at the Mid-South Conference tournament in Lebanon, Tenn.

They can only hope for better results, as the Rams were beaten 69-42 by the Tigers in the Lady Rams’ regular season finale on Saturday at the Dome Gymnasium.

“You never know, we got to see something here and hopefully we are not as scared,” Bluefield head coach M.J. Baker said. “We really played tentative there at the beginning and in the second half we started playing with a little bit more intensity and less fear.”

By then it was too late, as Campbellsville (27-3, 16-2) showed why the Tigers are currently ranked fourth in the nation among NAIA squads.

Key for the Tigers is its defense, which held Bluefield to 17 first half points, and 42 for the game, which is the third fewest points allowed in a game this season by Campbellsville.

“Their is defense is spectacular,” Baker said. “That is a big thing that we knew we had to eliminate turnovers and they made us turn over the ball and the capitalized off of it.”

Not only did Bluefield (14-14, 7-11) score 42 just points, the Lady Rams committed 33 turnovers and made just 3 of 15 free throw attempts. They actually out-shot the Tigers, making 40.4 percent (19-47) to 40 percent (26-65) for the Tigers. Bluefield played the Tigers to within four after the break, 29-25.

“We didn’t finish very well either, we shot poorly at the free throw line,” said Baker, whose Rams fell behind 40-17 at the break. “I think we were (3 for 15) from the free throw line, there is (12) points right there.

“There were other things that came into play that we could have made this game more competitive.”

Campbellsville, which defeated Bluefield 88-55 in November, was led by Mary Jehlik with 12 points, while Caroline Owen added  11 and Ellen Sholtes added 10 points, three steals and three assists. Owen had three of the Tigers’ seven 3s.

Bluefield was paced by Janee Simmons, who played her final game at the Dome, and tallied 15 points and 14 rebounds. Fellow senior Teqa McNeal was blanketed by the Tigers the entire game, and finished with four points and three steals.

Both will be missed by the Lady Rams next season.

“They are the most consistent players that we have,” Baker said. “They are like the backbone of our program so losing those two will be big.

“We will have to fill those shoes, but hopefully we can bring in a couple of players that can help.”

Asia Wheeler had 10 points and blocked four shots for Bluefield, while Alexis Grant added seven points and Destiny Tolliver had pulled down six rebounds.  

Bluefield will play Campbellsville Friday in the MSC quarterfinals, and will participate in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Mid-East Regionals the following week at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

—Contact Brian Woodson