On March 19 in Sioux Falls, S.D., the Lady Chaps took their 25-game win streak into the Elite Eight tourney of NCAA Division II. The team fell to the University of Central Missouri by a score of 72-62.
Live by the three …
The Lady Chaps got off to a hot start and quickly grabbed an eight-point lead by the 6:15 mark in the first quarter. But things would quickly change. The Lady Chaps struggled from behind the arc in the first half, hitting only 2 of 7 attempts from three-point range. This struggle carried into the second half, where they hit only 2 of 10 from three-point range.
Going 4-17 from behind the arc brings to mind the infamous quote, “live by the three, die by the three.” March Madness seems to do these types of things. Look at the men’s tournament for example, in which the University of North Carolina Tar-Heels fell in the second round to Texas A&M, after hitting just 6 of 31 from three-point range.
The quarter-final loss to Central Missouri was the first NCAA tournament loss for the Lady Chaps in school history. Olivia Robertson led the team in the loss with 16 points.
Madness on campus
The madness wasn’t just in Sioux Falls. As the game clock ran, the numbers in the Baker Conference Room on the LCU campus kept growing in support for the Lady Chaps. Students, faculty and staff flooded the room and cheers of support never ran dry, no matter the score.
Asked about the effect of the Lady Chaps NCAA run on the school, Conner Dean, a sophomore from Lubbock, said, “It brings us together and gives us a team to get behind. We get to be proud that we attend LCU.”
The loss brings a hard goodbye to the team’s three seniors, Tess Bruffey, Delaney Gaddis and Caitlyn Buttram. Tess was just recently named All-American for the second time, as well as being named for the first time by both the D2CCA (Division 2 Conference Commissioners Association) and the WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association).
Tess averaged 15.1 points (3rd), 8.5 rebounds (2nd) and 3.9 blocks (1st) per game during conference play this year. She is also now the Heartland Conference’s all-time leader in number of games played, with last Monday marking her 124th career game. Tess finished her career with 1,728 points. This ranks fourth in school history and second in Heartland Conference history.
The future is bright
Although this year’s March Madness has ended, and the Lady Chaps are losing one of the most storied players in school history, don’t lower your expectations for the 2018-19 season! The Lady Chaps sure won’t be. The team will return three starters – Olivia Robertson, Caitlyn Cunyus and Maddi Chitsey – and will have a lot of young depth and experience from this year.
Junior Olivia Robertson summed up the view on next season: “I’m definitely looking forward to a new journey and a new experience. Every year holds something wonderful, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us. I’m excited for another year of growth together.”
Go here for more Lady Chaps information, and in the comments section below post your congratulations on their tremendous season.