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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Rust College’s Lady Bearcats Win Third Consecutive Women’s GCAC Tournament Title

The Rust College Lady Bearcats have won the GCAC Tournament championship for the third year in a row with a 67-39 victory over Fisk on Sunday. The Lady Bearcats basketball team held the Bulldogs to just 24.1% shooting from the floor.

Rust limited Fisk to scoring in single digits in half of the game’s quarters and also forced 19 Bulldog turnovers. During the opening quarter, Zipporah Davis hit a three-pointer at the 7:43 mark which gave the Bulldogs a brief 3-2 lead.

However, this advantage only lasted for twenty seconds and would be the only time Fisk would lead in the whole game. 

The Bearcats then scored 19 consecutive points, taking the lead 21-3 with 1:48 left in the first quarter. Liz Gibbs’ layup gave Fisk their only other points in the period, as they ended up in a 21-5 hole after just one-quarter of play.

The Bulldogs managed to score 16 points in the second quarter, but the Bearcats still outscored them, taking a 38-21 lead into halftime. The Bearcats’ defense continued to dominate in the third quarter, limiting the Bulldogs to just seven points, along with four turnovers. The Bearcats were ahead, leading 55-28 at the end of the third quarter.

Kennedi Green led the Bearcats with 15 points in just 17 minutes, while Dekeriya Patterson and Niya McGuire added 11 points each. On the other hand, no player from Fisk managed to reach double figures. Maya Buchanan, an eight-time GCAC Player of the Week and two-time NAIA National Player of the Week, was held to just nine points, and no other Bulldog player scored more than five points.

Rust College is the oldest HBCU in Mississippi. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) since the 2018–19 academic year, after spending as an NAIA Independent within the Association of Independent Institutions (AII) during the 2017–18 school year when they joined the NAIA.

Rust College, a private historically black college in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

The Bearcats previously competed in the NCAA Division III ranks as an NCAA D-III Independent until after the 2016–17 school year; and in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) from 1978–79 to 1987–88, which is currently an NCAA Division II athletic conference.

Rust will figure out their next opponent on Thursday when the NAIA Tournament Selection Show airs. In the previous two tournaments, the Lady Bearcats have not advanced past the Regional Round. Fisk will also learn their fate on Thursday evening.

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