- Evening, Weekend & Online Programs
- ALUMNI RELATIONS
- GIVING TO LAKELAND
- ABOUT LAKELAND
The Lakeland College women's basketball team earned its sixth trip to the NCAA Division III tournament Saturday night, beating Benedictine, 71-60, in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament championship game at Lakeland.
The Muskies (22-6), the tournament's No. 3 seed, led by as many as 16 in the first half, using a solid shooting and rebounding night along with a solid defensive effort that frustrated the Eagles (15-12), the tournament's No. 4 seed. Benedictine cut the lead to 65-60 with 52 seconds to play, but a Katie Kilton steal with 32 seconds left helped Lakeland seal the win.
Lakeland returns to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 2005-06 season, and wins the NAC Tournament for the first time in school history. Lakeland's previous six tournament titles all came in the Lake Michigan Conference. The 22 wins this season are the most for Lakeland since the 2003-04 season.
"It feels good to come through for the program, our alumni, and for our coaches," said senior KC Blahnik, who led Lakeland with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting. "For our seniors it's been four years of waiting, four years of hard work and never giving up."
It's the first trip to the NCAA Tournament as a head coach for Teri Johnson, a 2000 Lakeland graduate in her third season leading her alma mater. She helped Lakeland to its first NCAA berth in the 1998-99 season.
"On day one when I took the job, this day was in the back of my mind," Johnson said. "Obviously there is a lot of emotion - this brings back a lot of memories. This program means so much to me. The perseverance, the hard work, our players coming in every day, it all paid off. We hit some rough spots in January, but I knew this team had it."
The Muskies completed 25-of-55 shots from the field, their second highest percentage (45.5) of the season. Blahnik led all Lakeland scorers with 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting and seven rebounds. Erin Cepa added 12 points and was 3-of-7 from behind the three point line.
Jenn Bren led the Eagles with a game-high 23 points. Tracey Walsh added 13 points and Monika Krozel paced Benedictine with 11 rebounds.
The field and pairings for the NCAA Tournament will be announced Monday morning via webcast at 11:30 a.m. on the NCAA website at NCAA.com.