FERRUM, Va. -- Jacole Hairston (Magna Vista) had 19 points, Tesla Akers had 15 and Kristen Keith had 12 as top-seeded Ferrum College beat #4 Methodist University 72-50 in the semifinals of the 2012 USA South Women's Basketball Tournament tonight at Swartz Gym. The win gave Ferrum a new school record for single season wins. Ferrum finished 21-7 in 2007 and 2010.
The Panthers led 37-29 at the break, but Methodist opened the second half with a pair of baskets to trim the lead to 37-33. The Panthers responded with a 19-10 run to widen the lead to 56-43 on a jumper by Kayla Goins (Carroll County) at 8:01. A 14-4 Ferrum run followed, capped by Keith's layup with 2:22 left to play to put Ferrum on top 68-47.
Methodist (15-12) was led by Iesha Hayes and TT Taylor, who had 13 and 12 points, respectively. The Monarchs out-rebounded Ferrum 41-33, but shot only 31% from the floor compared to Ferrum's 50%. Jackie Lyles had seven points to go with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Ferrum will face #2 Christopher Newport in Sunday's championship game at Swartz Gymnasium. The Captains beat #3 Greensboro 58-41 in Newport News. Ferrum, Christopher Newport and Greensboro shared this year's regular season title, all three finishing with 15-3 league records. Ferrum and CNU split this year, each winning at home. The two teams bring identical 22-5 records into the title game.
Ferrum has played in six previous USA South Tournament title games, four times under Head Coach Bryan Harvey. The Panthers won the tournament in 1995 when the league was still named the Dixie Conference, and lost title games in 1992, 2006, 2007 and 2010. The winner of the Sunday's title game advances to the NCAA Div. III Women's Basketball Tournament. The loser must wait until Monday's NCAA Tournament selections are announced to see if it earns an at-large bid. Ferrum's lone trip to the NCAA Tournament was in 1995.
2012 USA South Women's Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinals - Tuesday, Feb. 21
#4 Methodist def. #5 N.C. Wesleyan 70-60
#3 Greensboro def. #6 Averett 80-60
#2 Christopher Newport def. #7 Shenandoah 59-44
#1 Ferrum def. #8 Mary Baldwin 84-60
Semifinals - Friday, Feb. 24
#1 Ferrum def. #4 Methodist 72-50
#2 Christopher Newport def. #3 Greensboro 58-41
Championship- Sunday, Feb. 26
#2 Christopher Newport at #1 Ferrum - 2:00 pm
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