Lambuth Wins First NAIA Title With 63-50 Win Over Cumberland
March 20, 2007
It was the first NAIA Division I Women's Basketball championship game in which both participants were playing in the title game for the first time. Lambuth, seeded fifth in the tournament bracket, is the lowest-seeded champion since the NAIA implemented bracketed quarters in 2003, and the Eagles are just the fourth different team to claim a title over the past 14 seasons, and they set up the surprising title game matchup with a semifinal win over Union (
Lambuth led by four points at halftime, 26-22, but back-to-back buckets by Juliana Fernandes brought
Both teams were appearing in their first title game, and they combined for just one basket in the first three minutes, an Ashley Cross jumper less than a minute into the game. Isabelli Cunico snapped the drought with a three-pointer, then blocked Meghan Fuqua's attempt at the other end to set up Tomika Hall's 10-foot jumper from the baseline that gave Cumberland a 7-0 lead.
With 15:48 remaining in the half, Kelly Forrest put Lambuth on the board, but after another scoreless minute and a half ticked away, Juliana Fernandes gave
Cumberland answered with a seven-point run, capped by another Cunico three with 2:30 to go before halftime, but Kelly Forrest's three-pointer off the glass just 12 seconds later pushed the Lambuth lead back to 24-20, and after trading baskets in the final 1:15, the Eagles took the four-point lead into halftime.
Maddox and Fuqua each scored 17 points to lead Lambuth, with Maddox adding 11 rebounds and eight assists. Fuqua scored 15 of her 17 in the second half, including two-of-three from three-point range. Robinson added nine points off the bench, while Preyer was also two-of-three from long distance, finishing with eight points.
Lambuth, finishes the season 27-9 overall after claiming the NAIA crown after a four-year absence from the national tournament. In four previous appearances from 1999-2002, Lambuth was eliminated three times in the second round and exited once in the first round.
2007 NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Championship
Tournament MVP: Reggie Maddox (Lambuth)
All-Tournament First Team: Ashley Cross (
Matalya McBath-Belvin (Langston)
Khady Ngom (Southern Nazarene)
Kiana Robinson (
Jessica Richter (Vanguard)
All-Tournament Second Team: Abby Lawson (Trevecca Nazarene)
Josephine Owino (
Dee Preyer (Lambuth)
Kelly Schmidt (Vanguard)
Dominique Thomas (
Hustle Award: Ashley Cross (