JACKSON, Tenn. - The 11th-ranked Benedict College women's basketball team used a dominating defense to smother Florida Tech University and captured a 51-30 victory in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball South Region Tournament, held on the campus of Union University on Friday afternoon.
The second-seeded Lady Tigers, now 28-2 overall, advance to face sixth-seed Nova Southeastern University in Saturday's semifinal matchup at 6 p.m. Eastern.
Benedict held Florida Tech to a season-low 30 points. Florida Tech never scored more than nine points in any quarter. The Lady Tigers, who lead the nation in field-goal percentage defense, held the Panthers to just 18.6 percent shooting (11-of-59) for the game, including only 13.8 percent (4-for-29) in the second half. The 30 total points was a season-low for a Benedict opponent this season, while the 11 field goals made tied an opponent season low.
Terri Jacobs led Benedict with a game-high 14 points, while Regime McCombs added 13 points. Jacobs, Destiny Betts and Dorothy Brown all had a team-high six rebounds. Sarah Green had four blocked shots, while Jacobs swatted away three shots.
Both teams struggled in the first quarter, with Benedict taking a 10-7 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. But the Lady Tigers outscored the Panthers 19-9 in the second quarter for a 29-16 lead. Florida Tech cut the lead to 35-25 after three quarters, but the Lady Tigers put the defensive clamps down in the fourth quarter, holding the Panthers to just five points.
DeLise Williams led Florida Tech with 11 points. Shequana Harris, the team's leading scorer who averaged more than 21 points during the Panthers' run in the Sunshine State Conference tournament, was held to 10 points on 5-of-20 shooting. No other Florida Tech player score more than three points.
Benedict, which won a game in the women's NCAA basketball tournament for the first time ever after losing in the first round in their four previous appearances, will face the Nova Southeastern Sharks, who upset third-seed Delta State 75-64 in another quarterfinal game on Friday. Benedict and Nova Southeastern last played each other in the 2013-14 season. Benedict lost a regular-season matchup, then lost again to the Sharks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament later that year.