Langston’s historic season came to an end Friday night in Frankfort, Ky. falling 74-59 to Biola in the NAIA National Tournament. The Lionesses close out 2011-12 with a record of 30-4.
Biola took a 40-33 advantage into the half and didn’t lose ground after that.
Coach Jerome Willis addressed his team with perspective immediately following the game.
“I just reminded the girls that there is going to be only one team that leaves Frankfort happy, and it just wasn’t us this year,” Willis said.
And I told them how proud I was of them. You know, any time you win 30 games in a season, that’s a terrific season.”
Langston had opportunities in the early going, but didn’t convert on high percentage shots.
“They played us in a matchup zone and we got some great shots, but we just couldn’t make any of them,” Willis said. “We just had a lid on the basket. I think we missed 15 layups.
“And they hit everything on their end. For the season they make only about 27 percent for the three-point line and they were something like 6-for-10 in the first half. It was just their night.”
All five Biola starters scored in double figures, led by Charrise Reece with 16.
No Langston starter reached double digit scoring. Vicoria Felix came off the bench to score 12. Kimberly Jones had 10 rebounds to go with her nine points.
Biola’s hot shooting from the outside made the way for the Eagles to really go with their strength, which is penetration.
“This team really likes to go inside and get to the basket,” Willis said. “so once they started making all those threes, it really opened things up so they could get there, which is what they wanted to do anyway.
“Our game plan was to force to shoot from the outside, but it just played into their hands. They played outstanding tonight. I can’t say anything more but to give them all the credit.”
And so for eight Langston seniors, a great run is over. But the girls can look at a four-year record of 113-24 with pride.
Langston was the final undefeated team this year, winning its first 17 before losing for the first time. And was ranked as high as No. 5 midseason.
Willis took the time to talk to his seniors one last time while speaking to them as players.
“I thanked them for their service to the university and to me,” Willis said. “All eight of them are great people and I expect them to be good citizens and hard-working people when they complete their degrees and get out of college.
“And I’ll always be there for them whenever they need me.”