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FRANKFORT, Ky. - Freshman point guard Angie Lawrence tossed in a career-high 27 points to lead Georgetown College past Rogers State University 70-63 Saturday night in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com.
The Tigers will make their first-ever appearance in the Fab Four on Monday night when they play the winner of Union (Tenn.) and Biola (Calif.) at 8 p.m. in the Frankfort Convention Center, and will be only the second team - following Shawnee State a year ago - to represent the Mid-South Conference in the national semifinals of the women's tournament.
Despite entering the tournament seeded fifth in its eight-team bracket, the Tigers will be one of only four teams remaining on Monday night.
Lawrence continued her torrid national tournament. After scoring only 75 points on the season entering the event, the Rockcastle County product - who hit the winning shot in last year's Sweet 16 finals -has scored 52 points in her three games in the tournament. She did so on Saturday with career highs in field goals made with seven, free throws (11) and free throw attempts (13).
And, in the biggest game of her young collegiate career, she scored seven of her team's nine points in the final 2:01 after Rogers State had cut the lead to 62-59.
Georgetown (24-9) scored the game's first four points and, despite RSU cutting it to a single point on five different occasions, led until freshman Larrielle Giles scored with 3:14 left in the half to give her team a 28-27 lead.
The Tigers regained the lead at 30-29 on a three-point play by sophomore Lizza Jonas with 2:14 remaining, but trailed 35-32 at the half.
Rogers State (22-12), which upset Cumberlands and Shorter and was the seven seed in its eight-team bracket, led by six twice early in the second half, including at 42-36 with 15:50 left.
But that's when the Tigers hitched their star to Lawrence. After a three-point play by freshman Dev King, Lawrence scored the next six points to finish a 9-0 run that took only 2:35 and ended on a Lawrence bucket with 13:15 to play that put her team on top 45-42.
The Hillcats tied the game with a three-point shot, but Georgetown - and Lawrence - continued its dynamic run. The Tigers went on an 11-2 streak that took 2:44 off the clock, with Lawrence scoring seven and then finding senior Jessica Waddle in the corner for a three-point bomb that put the Tigers in front 56-47 with 8:45 to play.
That was the biggest lead either team would enjoy on the night, and although Rogers State cut the lead to one at 58-57 on a three-point shot by junior Leah Smith with 5:19 to play, it would never draw even as the Tigers advanced in the tournament.
The Tigers won their national quarterfinal game on a night they hit only 39.6 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from the arc. But the team was 24-of-30 (80 percent) from the line en route to the win.
Lawrence led three Tigers in double figures in the game. Junior Devin Golden tossed in 11 and led her team with three assists, while Waddle finished with 10 and tied Jonas with seven rebounds.
Rogers State got 21 points and seven rebounds from junior Logan Froese, hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 3-of-4 from the line. Smith followed with 10.
Senior Gianna Woods, who had six points, had 14 rebounds - seven off the offensive glass - to lead the Hillcats to a 42-37 edge on the glass.