For the first time since six seasons, the Washburn Ichabod women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinal round of the MIAA Tournament as they pulled out a 61-53 victory over rival No. 5-seed Emporia State on Friday night at Municipal Auditorium.
With the result, Washburn improved to 6-2 over the Lady Hornets in the MIAA postseason, while notching back-to-back 20-win seasons.
Trailing 43-41 at the end of the third, Washburn (20-9) rallied in the fourth as it converted 8-of-12 from the field with 3-of-6 from three-point distance. Reagan Phelan drained a three to open the period, sparking a 9-0 run with contributions from Alexis McAfee and Nicole Murugarren.
With 3:13 remaining, Emporia State (22-8) pulled within four points, but that was the closest it came as the Ichabods pushed their advantage to as much as nine during the final 60 seconds.
Murugarren paced a quartet of double-figure scorers for Washburn, finishing with 15 points on an efficient 6-of-7 shooting. Hunter Bentley followed with 14 points, while McAfee and Phelan registered 12 and 10, respectively. McAfee also finished with 10 rebounds, for her second double-double of the season.
The Ichabod defense however was the difference maker as it held Emporia State to a season-low 17 field goals and tied a season-low as it finished below .275 shooting for just the second-time all season.
Washburn 15-13 after the first, before rattling off an 11-2 run to begin the second. The Lady Hornets answered with a 5-0 spurt before a late layup with 25 seconds left in the half gave them a 26-25 lead. Makayla Vargo though hit a last second runner nudging the Ichabods to a 27-26 advantage at the break.
The Ichabods return to action on Saturday at 6 pm as they square off with top-seeded Fort Hays State.