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Southwest Lady Bears upset East Mississippi

Behind the 40-point performance of sophomore guard Katrina Littlepage, the Southwest Lady Bears advanced to the MACJC basketball semi-finals in Fulton with a 66-61 upset win Tuesday over the East Mississippi Lady Lions. Southwest advanced to the tournament as the South’s number four team while East Mississippi was the top team from the North.

The Lady Bears (18-6) will take on South Division foe Meridian at 1 p.m. in today’s semi-final contest. The teams split their two regular season match-ups. East Mississippi fell to 16-8 with the loss and will await the start of next week’s NJCAA Region 23 Tournament. Their win Tuesday also assured the Lady Bears a spot in the regional.

Southwest and East Mississippi battled hard from the start Tuesday with six ties and 14 lead changes in the first half. They ended the first 20:00 the same way they started, in a tie. This time, the score was 31-31.

After falling behind, 36-34, early in the second half, Southwest slowly began taking control of the game. With Littlepage scoring nine points, the Lady Bears went on an 11-0 scoring spree to take a 45-36 lead.

An 8-2 run near the 10:00 mark of the final half brought East Mississippi back to within two points, 50-48. But, the Lady Bears then answered with a 7-0 run to extend their advantage back to nine points, 57-48, with just over 5:00 to go in the game.

Ahead 61-51 with the clock winding down, the Lady Bears had a scare put into them when East Mississippi scored eight of nine points to pull back to within three, 62-59, with under 1:00 to play. But, four Littlepage free throws put the game on ice and kept the Lady Bears’ dream of a title alive.

“I’m extremely proud of our Southwest Lady Bears,” said head coach Brent Harris. “Defensively, we were very sound and dialed in. Katrina had the hot hand so we called her number a lot.”

Harris concluded his post-game comments by saying “this was a signature win for our program” and thanking “Bear Nation for the support.”

Littlepage picked up 25 of her 40 points in the second half and went 20-26 from the free throw line.

Today’s game vs. Meridian can be heard on the radio on WAKH 105.7FM (K106), on the internet at southwestbearathletics.com and k106.net and on smart phones (download the k106 app).