LUBBOCK, Texas (February 16, 2017) – Lubbock Christian University had to garner their first win of the season when trailing at half to push their nation-leading home win streak to 32 games, and they also used a double-double consisting of 30 points and 11 rebounds from Tess Bruffey to defeat Newman University 60-55 in a Heartland Conference contest featuring 11 lead changes inside Rip Griffin Center Thursday evening.
LCU trailed most of the first half, but in the opening quarter each team had a share of the lead, with neither team leading by more than four points. Newman opened the game 1-of-6 from the field, but closed the quarter 6-of-8 from the field. Included in the mix was a steal and layup at the buzzer by Iva Krstevska, which not only put Newman up 15-14, but marked the first ever time LCU trailed at home at a quarter's conclusion since NCAA women's basketball adopted the four-quarter play at the start of the 2015-2016 season (96 consecutive quarters). Hannah Alexander opened the second quarter with a jumper for Newman to cap a 6-0 run and the Jets led 17-14. Bruffey answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 17-17. Newman would score 12 of the next 16 points and took their largest lead of the game (29-21) with 2:45 remaining in the half. LCU rallied over the final 2:45 with a 7-0 run, which included a three-pointer from Hannah Harbin to trail 29-28 at the half.
It was a battle between Bruffey and Newman's Mali Wright in the opening half. Wright was 7-of-13 from the field in the half for 14 points, while Bruffey had 16 points in the half (nine points from beyond the arc). LCU was 10-of-27 from the field (37%), with five three-point field goals and five buckets inside the arc. LCU was 50% (5/10) from three-point range, but 5-of-17 (29.4%) inside the arc. Bruffey struggled to a 2-of-9 shooting stretch inside the arc during the half (she was 3-for-4 in the half from long range).
LCU, entering the contest 0-10 when trailing at the half, built off their 7-0 run with a basket by Bruffey to close the run at 9-0. It gave LCU a 30-29 lead. The lead alternated until Claire Bruffey drove in and converted a layup into a three-point play to put lCU up 35-33 with 3:26 left in the third quarter. Claire Bruffey would end up hitting a three-pointer from the right corner later in the quarter and LCU took a 41-38 lead into the fourth quarter.
Bailey Haist nailed a trio of three-pointers in the game, with a pair coming in the fourth quarter. One was part of a 9-0 run, which had LCU leading 48-38 with 7:58 remaining. The Jets crawled back in and benefited off seven points in the quarter from Alexander and a 9-3 run to cut LCU's lead to 55-53 with 2:25 to go. Newman cut the LCU lead to 56-55 (54 seconds remaining), but LCU, who was a miserable 12-of-24 (50%) from the free-throw line, went 7-of-10 (70%) in the final quarter and scored five of them over the final 1:42 of the game to hold off the Jets in the closing moments. Newman was 0-of-2 from the field, with two turnovers over the final 2:58. Newman's final field goal came with 2:59 remaining and LCU's final field goal was tallied with 3:19 left.
Tess Bruffey's 30 points was a career high and marks the first 30-point performance by a Lady Chaps member since Nicole Hampton had 31 points at Rogers State on Dec. 7, 2013. It was the most scored inside Rip Griffin Center by a Lady Chaps member since Kelsey Canavan scored 30 against Northwestern Oklahoma State on Feb. 25, 2012. Bruffey was 9-of-23 from the field (3-of-5 from three-point range) and the 23 shot attempts at home marks a new Rip Griffin Center record for field goal attempts. Her double-double was her eighth of the season.
LCU was 37.7% from the field (20/53) in the game, while Newman was 41.5% from the field. It marks the fifth time this season LCU has been outshot by the opposition and the first time in which LCU has won (1-4). LCU was 8-of-18 (44.4%) from long distance, with Bruffey and Haist each hitting a trio of treys. Newman connected on just one three-pointer (1-of-7, 14.3%) in the game. LCU out-rebounded Newman 36-33 and forced Newman into 17 rebounds (12 turnovers against LCU). Bruffey was LCU's only player in double figures, while Wright finished with 20 points and Alexander notched 10 points for Newman.
The Lady Chaps improved to 14-10 overall and 9-4 in the Heartand Conference, while Newman (17-9, 7-7) had their four-game win streak come to an end. LCU, 8-0 at home this season, improved to 33-0 all-time in Heartland Conference home games, while also extending their streak of consecutive conference home wins to 39 games.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Tess Bruffey made three three-pointers for a 10th time in her LCU career to match a career high. She has made three three-pointers in back-to-back contests and is 15-of-26 (57.7%) in the last six games from long range.
LCU remains home Saturday and will host Oklahoma Panhandle State University at 1 pm. inside Rip Griffin Center. It will mark their final Heartland Conference tilt between the two programs, as OPSU will transition to NAIA membership.