ATLANTA, GA – Georgia Tech used a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter to take the lead, then wrapped up the game with another solid defensive stand to advance to the WNIT championship game.
The Yellow Jackets (22-14) will play at Michigan (on the campus of Detroit Mercy) for the crown; tipoff is 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 1 with the game to be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Kaylan Pugh’s layup and free throw with 8:53 remaining tied to game at 54-all; Imani Tilford scored at 8:10 to put the Yellow Jackets up, 56-54. Georgia Tech kept up the pressure and did not allow a point by Washington State (16-20) until Ivana Kmetovska scored with 3:48 remaining. The Cougars scored just seven points in the fourth quarter.
The Yellow Jackets were paced by Zaire O’Neil, who closed with 20 points, 16 rebounds and four assists. Freshman Francesca Pan had 14 points, Tilford closed with 12 points and Elo Edeferioka had 11 points and 16 rebounds. Georgia Tech enjoyed a 50-35 lead in rebounding and advanced despite shooting 48 percent from the free throw line (12-25) and just 3-of-18 from the 3-point line.
The Cougars got 21 points and five rebounds from Alexys Swedlund; Caila Hailey added 10 points and five assists.
MICHIGAN 65, VILLANOVA 61
ANN ARBOR, MI – After reaching the Postseason WNIT semifinals for the third consecutive year, Michigan finally broke through to reach the final as Hallie Thome scored 22 points and added seven rebounds for the Wolverines.
Michigan (27-9) will host Georgia Tech (on the campus at Detroit Mercy) in Saturday’s championship game, set for 3 p.m. ET and to be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Michigan eased out to a 48-36 lead after three quarters, then registered the first two baskets of the final quarter. Villanova (20-15) responded with a 10-0 run to trail just 54-49 with 5:23 remaining. The teams battled to a standstill for the next four-plus minutes, and Megan Quinn’s 3-pointer for the Wildcats at the 2:02 mark was the last scoring until Michigan’s Siera Thompson hit two free throws at :32 to make it 63-57.
Alex Louin sank a layup with 12 seconds left to pull Villanova to 64-61, but Katelynn Flaherty hit a free throw to build enough margin for the finish.
Flaherty closed with 18 points and five rebounds, Thompson had 12 points and five assists, and Jillian Dunston finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. The Wolverines had a 40-33 edge in rebounding and survived shooting just 26 percent (5-of-19) from long range.
Louin had 14 points and seven rebounds for the visitors. Adrianna Hahn closed with 12 points and five rebounds, and Samantha Wilkes added 10 points and five rebounds. Villanova only went to the free throw line twice, making one attempt.