COLUMBUS, Ohio (News release) – Harding sophomore Sydnie Jones had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and senior A'ndrea Haney had 15 including a key fourth-quarter 3-pointer to send the No. 4-seeded Lady Bisons into the Final Four with a 73-69 victory over Queens (NY) on Tuesday at Alumni Hall.
With the victory, Harding improved to 31-3 overall and will take on undefeated and No. 1 seed Ashland (35-0) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network. Queens, the champions of the East Regional, finished the season 27-5, but not before coming back from 15 points down to tie the game in the fourth quarter.
Harding junior Sydney Layrock made two free throws with 4:28 left in the third quarter to put the exclamation mark on a 13-0 run and give the Lady Bisons a 48-33 lead. Harding led 57-45 at the end of three quarters, but Queens went on a 13-1 run to open the fourth and tied the game at 58-58 on a Beth Bonin 3-pointer with 6:04 remaining.
Battling a ferocious Queens press that helped contribute to 29 Harding turnovers, Lady Bison junior Falan Miller threw a long diagonal pass to Haney who drained a 3-pointer on the left wing to give Harding a 61-58 advantage with 5:47 left. The Lady Bisons never trailed the rest of the way.
Harding led by as many as six down the stretch, but Queens closed to within 71-69 on two MacKenzie Rowland free throws with 1:04 left. After a Harding missed shot, Queens had a chance to tie or take the lead but turned the ball over on a traveling violation.
Queens fouled Haney on Harding's last possession and the senior from West Plains, Missouri, sealed the Lady Bisons' first final four by hitting both free throws.
Jones was 11-of-17 from the field. Her 22 points and 17 rebounds were both the most by a Harding player in an NCAA Tournament game. Haney's go-ahead 3-pointer was one of only three for the Lady Bisons. Caroline Hogue, the Central Regional MVP, scored eight of her 13 points in the first half.
MacKenzie Rowland, one of three Rowland sisters in the starting lineup, had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Madison Rowland, the NCAA Division II Player of the Year, had 19 points on 5-of-17 shooting, seven rebounds and 10 steals.
Harding weathered 15 first-half turnovers and shot 48 percent from the field to lead Queens 33-31 at halftime.
Queens led by as many as nine midway through the first quarter but a late Harding run cut the Knights' lead to 21-18 after one quarter.
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