With one more home win, the WNIT title will belong to the SMS Lady Bears. They hit a tournament-record 17 three pointers to down Iowa 89-80 at the Hammons Student Center in the semifinals Monday night. But that record was almost a necessity, thanks to an Iowa squad that wouldn’t go away.
SMS took control in the first half and led 51-40 after the first 20 minutes. Jenni Lingor and K.C. Cowgill were a combined 10-10 from three-point range in the first half. If the Lady Bears expected the Hawkeyes to fade into the background, they were sorely mistaken. Iowa got hot to start the second half and took a 57-55 lead with 14:15 left in the game. SMS responded with a 10-2 run to take the lead back. Later in the half they went on a 10-0 run when Iowa cut their lead to five points.
Lingor led the way with a 32 point performance. She also hit 8-of-11 three pointers on the night and became SMS’ all-time three point shooter with 261. She passed Melody Howard who set the mark at 258 from 1990-1994. K.C. Cowgill added 21 points, thanks to a perfect 5-of-5 night from behind the arc. Kari Koch was held to just seven points, but she was the motor that drove the engine, dishing out 12 assists and grabbing six rebounds.
The victory upped their mark to 24-8 on the season and sets them up for a showdown with West Virginia in the WNIT championship on Thursday night at the Hammons Student Center. WVU advanced last night a 70-65 double overtime win over Kentucky. The Mountaineers are 21-12.