Lady Buffs season comes to an end in heartbreaker at LCU

LUBBOCK— A packed house of 2,200 fans at the Rip Griffin Center Monday night got exactly what they expected in the NCAA Division II South Central Regional championship.


Lubbock Christian University and West Texas A&M put on a 40 minute display of tough, physical, fundamental basketball, that didn’t disappoint.

Unfortunately for WT, the outcome did.

LCU snuck away with a 56-53 victory to advance back to the Elite Eight for the second time in three years.

It was only fitting the game came down to a final possession. WT trailed 55-50, until Madison Parker banked a 3-pointer off the glass with seven seconds to play.

The Lady Buffs immediately fouled LCU guard Maddi Chitsey with four seconds left.

Chitsey missed the first but made the second free-throw, putting LCU up 56-53.

Without any timeouts, WT had to inbound under its own basket. On the inbound, Megan Gamble quickly got it up court to a open Madison Parker, who had a wide open look on the left wing. Parker’s shot got off just before the buzzer, but hit off the back of the rim, as the season came to an end for the Lady Buffs.

“We had the looks,” WT coach Kristen Mattio said. “Madison banked a shot in to get us the shot to begin with. She had a great shot fake and I thought she had it but it didn’t go down.”

It’s the second time in three years that LCU has eliminated WT in the Sweet 16. It was two years ago when LCU beat down WT 88-68 on its way to the 2016 national championship.

The Lady Chaps continue to be unbeatable at the RIP Griffin Center, extending their incredible home win streak to 50 straight games. LCU has now won 25 straight overall and are 9-0 in the NCAA tournament.

The Lady Buffs, who were playing in a fifth straight regional final, see a 14-game win streak come to a halt, as their season ends at 29-5.

WT only led for 32 seconds in the hostile environment as the LCU defense caused problems most of the first half, holding WT to 33 percent. WT shot better in the second half, but couldn’t ever catch LCU, as the Lady Chaps time and time again kept WT at arms length with momentum changing shots at key times.

“It seemed like every time we caught up with them, they’d make a shot or stop our momentum,” WT guard Sydney Walton said. “There are some possessions we’re going to want back, but I’m proud of how we played.”

Senior captain Tess Bruffey was her stellar self finishing the rare triple-double. Bruffey, who torched WT two years ago, had 17 points 13 boards and 10 assists.

“I thought their defense did a good job of limiting us in the first half,” Mattio said. “Credit Tess Bruffey. She gave us problems. Her legnth was tough for us and she did everything to give her team a chance to win. That’s why she’s a great competitor.”

Bruffey earned the regional MVP for her effort.

Sydney Walton and Lexy Hightower led WT with 12 points each.

Lubbock Christian 56, West Texas A&M 53

West Texas A&M (29-5): Megan Gamble 0-3 2-4 2, Lexy Hightower 5-10 0-0 12, Sydney Walton 5-9 0-0 12, Tiana Parker 3-8 1-1 7, Madison Parker 2-9 0-0 5, Deleyah Harris 1-3 3-4 5, Reagan Haynes 0-1 0-0 0, CeCe Wootem 0-0 0-0 0, Tyesha Taylor 4-9 2-2 10. Totals: 20-52 8-11 53.

Lubbock Christian (31-1): Caitlyn Cunyus 1-3, 0-0 3, Olivia Robertson 3-9 0-0 7, Maddi Chitsey 5-9 1-2 12, Delaney Gaddis 4-8 0-0 9, Tess Bruffey 6-19 3-4 17, Kallin Davis 0-1 0-0 0, Allie Schulte 0-1 2-2 2, Bobbi Chitsey 3-4 0-0 6. Totals: 22-54 6-8 56.

West Texas;13;23;38;53

Lubbock Christian;16;30;40;56

3-point goals: WT 5-14 (Hightower 2-3, Walton 2-5, M. Parker 1-4, Harris 0-1, Haynes 0-1), LC 6-17 (Cunyus 1-3, Robertson 1-2, Chitsey 1-3, Gaddis 1-2, Bruffey 2-6, Davis 0-1). Rebounds: WT 30 (T. Parker 7), LC 32 (Bruffey 13). Steals: WT 6 (Gamble 4), LC 1 (Cunyus). Blocks: WT 5 (T. Parker 3), LC 8 (Bruffey 5). Turnovers: WT 10, LC 10. Total fouls: WT 12, LC 11. Fouled out: None. Technicals: None. Attendance: 2,200.

NCAA Division II South Central Regional

at Rip Griffin Center, Lubbock Christian University

Friday’s quarterfinals

MSU Denver 78, Colorado State-Pueblo 70

West Texas A&M 81, Arkansas-Fort Smith 66

Lubbock Christian 78, Tarleton State 46

Angelo State 87, Black Hills State 75

Saturday’s semifinals

West Texas A&M 70, MSU Denver 60

Lubbock Christian 61, Angelo State 59

Regional championship

Lubbock Christian 56, West Texas A&M 53