ABILENE, Texas - McMurry University's women's basketball team closed out its regular season slate with a 65-52 victory over the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith at Kimbrell Arena. The win improved the War Hawks to 12-14, while the Lions fell to 7-19. The victory also gave McMurry back-to-back wins for the first time since December 8 as it heads into play at next week's National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Central Region tournament in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. McM also swept the season series from a Heartland Conference opponent for the fourth time this season (also gaining a pair of wins from Texas A&M-International, Oklahoma Panhandle State and St. Edward's during its inaugural season as a part of the league). The War Hawks led wire-to-wire, as every roster player available to McM head coach Veronica Snow<http://www.mcmurrysports.com/staff.aspx?staff=38> saw action in the contest by halftime. (The McM bench would eventually out-score the Lions', 29-5, for the game). McMurry raced out to a double-digit lead, 13-3, by the 13:35 mark of the opening period on a layup by Jamie Wilson. But the stubborn UAFS team refused to fold and, instead, battled back to within a single basket, 18-16, following a pair of free throws from Porsha Donnerson (who would finish the day with a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds) with 5:55 left until the break. But McM went on a mini, 6-2, run of its own to close the half and held a 24-18 advantage going into the locker room. As the second half opened, the War Hawks began to open up a larger gap, pushing the lead back over double figures and maintaining it for the better part of the final 20 minutes of play. The Lions clawed back to within eight, 46-38, with 6:45 left in the game on a jumper from Brittany Holbert (7 points). However, the visitors would get no closer down the stretch. McMurry would lead by as much as 20 points, 60-40, with 3:40 to play after a fast-break layup by Rikeita Thomas, started by a deft outlet pass from Claire Bruffey. Thomas, a senior, finished her final game on her home floor with six points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal. Fellow senior M.J. Vickers, still fighting the effects of an ankle sprain last week, was scoreless in four minutes of work. Wilson, the War Hawks' third senior, shared high rebound honors (along with UAFS' Donnerson) with 11 boards. Wilson also tallied seven points and had three blocked shots in her home finale, as well. McMurry junior forward Keshia Collins had another of her patented all-around solid games. Collins shared scoring leader accolades – at 19 points – with the Lions' Katie BenAmor – while also pulling down eight rebounds. Collins was 9-of-19 from the floor, while passing off for three assists and making a pair of steals. Bruffey had eight points for McMurry, with Sierra Maykus adding seven and Katlyn Tarbet contributing six. As a team, the War Hawks shot an impressive 10-for-32 from beyond the arc (32.3 percent), while limiting the Lions to 2-of-14 from long distance. UAFS made a living from the free throw stripe, converting 18-of-24 tries, compared to McM's 5-of-8 from the charity line for the afternoon.
Information provided by McMurry Athletics Dept.
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