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Haley Armstrong had a coming out party at the right time. The sophomore scorer tallied a new career-high, 16, as Georgetown College women's basketball team punched its ticket to the 2014 Mid-South Conference Championships presented by GoJohnnyGo 5K/10K Run/Walk. The No. 9 Tigers (20-7) handed University of Rio Grande (18-13) an 87-77 defeat. Not only do the RedStorm exit the tournament, but this was their final season in the MSC as they move to the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2014-15.
Armstrong tied the game at 50 with a jumper from the foul line with 13:16 remaining. Rio answered with eight straight, forcing GC's coach Andrea McCloskey to burn a 30 second timeout.
"Even in warmups, the ball was just coming off my hand well tonight," Armstrong said. "I have to thank my teammates for trusting me and getting me the ball. I've struggled at times this year, but they keep having faith in me and tonight it felt good."
The Tigers regrouped and it was Armstrong that ignited 13 straight possessions that resulted in points and an eventual double-digit lead. She hit another jumper for a 58-52 game. Teonia McCune chipped in a pair of free throws the following possession. Lizza Jonas scored and got fouled for the old fashion three-pointer. Then the other leader on the night Devanny King tied it for the final time, 59-59. She came back the next possession for a deep two and the Tigers never trailed again.
King, who was saddled with two fouls quickly in the first half, finished with a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds. She had four points before foul trouble forced her to sit 14 minutes. The junior did not miss a beat though, scoring four quick points for the Tigers coming out of the locker room.
She played without fouling in the final 20 minutes and never took a rest. King was 8-of-13 from the field, 3-of-4 from the line, and finished two shy of tying her career-high.
When Rio erased a 43-37 deficit to go up four, 50-46, it was King that infused herself back into the offense. She grabbed one of her six offensive rebounds and finished the play with a stick back. Armstrong tied it the next time down and the Tiger fan base got a look at the future.
"This is what is exciting about this team right now, any given night an opponent doesn't know who will step up for us," McCloskey said. "They can all do and did all do it in different ways tonight."
Georgetown will play the University of Pikeville. Tip is set for 9 pm Saturday.
Jessica Foster finished with 13 points. Kourtney Tyra had 12. Jonas and Andrea Howard had nine each. McCune scored six. Mykal Farris had two and Tena Johnson had one as all Tigers scored in the quarterfinal win.
GC had four early turnovers, but against the scrappy, relentless RedStorm defense managed just six the final 20 minutes.