Midway women’s basketball clinches playoff berth with Senior Day victory over Asbury
The Midway University women’s basketball team clinched their third straight trip to the River States Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 16, by defeating Asbury University on Senior Day inside Marshall Gymnasium. The Eagles trailed by as many as five points in the third quarter, but they opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run en route to the 69-59 victory to celebrate Senior Day, while also clinching a playoff berth. In his first season at the helm, Midway Coach Alan Foster has guided the Eagles to a 16-13 overall record and a 9-9 mark in league play. His squad enters the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from the RSC West Division as the Eagles will travel to West Virginia Tech, the No. 1 seed from the East on Wednesday, February 20. Prior to the game, the Eagles honored their lone senior Kelsee Kinder as she played her final game inside Marshall Gymnasium. The senior point guard made her presence known by scoring 13 points, while dishing out five assists. She played the entire game until she left with four seconds remaining to an ovation as her sister, Kodi Kinder replaced her. The Eagles have had their fair share of slow starts at home, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday as they were all over the visitors in the opening quarter sprinting out to a 25-13 lead after the first stanza. Thirty seconds in, Haleigh Yazell banged home a long-range triple before Allyson Callahan and Jill Enix each connected on a pair of buckets giving the Eagles a 12-8 advantage. Asbury, who fell to 10-19 overall and 6-12 in RSC play with the loss, responded with a quick 5-0 run to take a 13-12 edge. The home team, however, responded with a run of its own, a 13-0 run in fact as they took the 12-point lead after 10 minutes of play. During the run, Kinder and Callahan each hit a triple, while Yazell converted a three-point play. Enix ignited the rally with a layup, while Leah Shelley hit a wide-open layup off a pass from Callahan. After sprinting out to an impressive 12-point lead after the first quarter, the Eagles would have liked a do over after what happened in the second quarter. The home squad scored just eight points – all of which came in the final 5:15 – as Asbury cut the deficit to 32-31 at half with an 18-point quarter. The funk that hit the Eagles in the second quarter carried over into the third where the visitors outscored the home team 19-13 to take a 50-46 lead into the fourth and final quarter. Whatever funk the Eagles were in throughout the second and third frames ended as they put together an impressive final 10 minutes. They opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run that effectively put the game away. Kinder started the rally with a reverse layup, while Callahan made her presence felt during the run when she converted a crucial a three-point play before capping off the rally with a triple giving Midway a 57-50 lead with 4:56 left to play. Asbury stayed close cutting its deficit to as little three points with 3:57 remaining, but layups from Kinder, Enix and Callahan pushed Midway’s back to seven. Enix later connected on another layup, while Kindall Talley hit 3-of-3 at the charity stripe to seal the 69-59 win. Jill Enix and Allyson Callahan joined Kelsee Kinder as the trio scored in double figures in the victory. Enix had a game-high 24 points to go with seven rebounds, while Callahan chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds. Haleigh Yazell turned in a solid all-around performance with nine points, eight rebounds and five assists. It was not the best shooting performance for the Eagles 41.9 percent overall and 27.8 percent from three, but they held the visitors to 29.6 percent overall and 18.2 percent from long distance. Foster and his squad will now begin preparing for the River States Conference Tournament next week.