Ballenger, ASU eliminate Lady AggiesMarch 2, 2004
LAWTON, Okla. (March 2) - Angelo State needed a career effort from junior Sharon Ballenger to eliminate the Cameron women's basketball team from the Lone Star Conference postseason tournament on Tuesday. Ballenger tied an LSC record with 10 three-pointers in the game, helping the 18th-ranked Rambelles escape with an 86-76 victory.
The loss ended Cameron's season at 15-13, while ASU improved to 24-4 while advancing to Friday's tournament semifinals against 22nd-ranked West Texas A&M.
Ballenger finished an incredible 10-of-12 from three-point range in the contest, including 8-of-10 in the second half. The 5-9 forward from Sweetwater, Texas, finished with a career-high 36 points, breaking her own school record for three-pointers in a game in the process.
Angleo State also got a 20-point, 13-rebound performance from junior center Natalja Tsubakova and 14 points from senior guard Kelli Anne Goble. Senior forward Kimberle Woods led the Lady Aggies in her final contest, posting 18 points and a game-high five assists. Sophomore Brittany Cooksey added 16 points, hitting 4-of-8 from three-point range. The frontcourt tandem of Christina Buben and Melisa Steen finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Aggies.
Cameron played inspired basketball much of the contest, attempting to avenge a 19-point loss to the Rambelles on Jan. 5, in San Angelo, Texas. The Lady Aggies scored the first five points of the game and trailed by just one at halftime, 38-37.
The teams traded leads in the opening minutes of the second half and Cameron held a one-point advantage when Electa Hare's jumper made it 50-49 Lady Aggies with 14:24 to play.
But Ballenger took over from there. After Goble gave the Rambelles the lead on a three-pointer with 13 minutes to play, Ballenger connected five straight field goal attempts - including four three-pointers - over the next five minutes. The Lady Aggies tried to keep pace, getting a pair of three-pointers from Cooksey and one by Buben during the stretch, but ASU still managed to extend its lead to 70-61 with just under eight minutes to play.
Cameron cut the lead to just three at 72-69 with just under four minutes remaining, when Woods drove the lane and served up a nifty assist to Chelsea Turner for an easy layup. But Angelo State converted 8-of-11 free-throw attempts over the final three minutes to hold off the Lady Aggies' comeback bid.
Tuesday's contest was the final game in a Cameron uniform for seniors Woods and Hare, both four-year members of the Lady Aggie squad. Woods, a native of Dallas, finished as Cameron's all-time rebounding leader with 693 career rebounds in 110 games (6.3 per game). Hare, a former Indian All-State selection at Pawnee (Okla.) High School, finished her career second on Cameron's all-time list of three-pointers attempted with 281 and ranks among the Lady Aggies' career leaders in three-pointers made, as well.
Angelo State defeated West Texas A&M handily last Saturday, winning 79-42 at home in the regular season finale for both teams. West Texas A&M, which defeated Tarleton State on Tuesday, earns the right to host the remainder of the conference tournament as the top seed in the LSC's South Division. Friday's other semifinal pits the North Divisions top seed, Northeastern State, against Abilene Christian. Semifinal winners will meet on Saturday to vie for the conference championship and an automatic berth in next week's NCAA II South Central Regional Championships.
For complete coverage of this year's Lone Star Conference women's basketball championships, visit the LSC online at www.lonestarconference.org.