The third time really was the charm for the Southwest Tennessee Lady Saluqis who pulled off the 71-63 upset of the Cleveland State Lady Cougars after dropping both regular season matchups.
The Lady Saluqis got off to a hot start, hitting the Lady Cougars with a 10-3 run to open the game with Kadajac Blayde hitting a pair of shots in the paint.
The lead grew to double digits when Angela Hardy added a pair of buckets inside while Dominque Malone and Ajee Smith let fly from outside the 3-point arc. Southwest opened up its largest lead of the night, 23-10 at the midway point of the first half.
The Lady Cougars finally shook off their early game jitters and began to chip away at the huge deficit. Jamesha Mosley went to work in the paint with three slashing drives to the hoop to start a 17-3 run. Brandi Whitted, Tre'Ketta Bonds and Aysia Grimsley each all hit a big shot. Whitney Thompson tossed in six quick points, including a long 3-pointer with 50 seconds to go in the half that helped Cleveland State totally erase the lead and tie the game at 33-all.
Southwest knocked down the last basket of the half to hold a 35-33 lead at the break.
Jara Gasper nailed a 3-point bomb to open the second half to give the Lady Cougars their first lead of the night. Over the next 17 minutes the teams traded buckets, with the lead changing hands 12 times.
Two straight 3-pointers from Gasper with just over four minutes to play in the game put the Lady Cougars on top once again, 53-52. Tatiana Allen tossed in three straight buckets in the paint to swing the Lady Saluqis back in front, but Gasper's fourth trey of the half cut the Southwest lead to 60-58 with 1:45 to play.
Mosley hit another driving layup to cut the lead to one point with 1:15 left. From there, the Lady Saluqis hit eight straight free throws to take control and seal the win.
Gasper led the way for the Lady Cougars (19-9) with 17 points while Mosley added 16. Allen paced the Lady Saluqis with 17 points while Smith finished with 13 and Blayde had nine. Mosely was named to the All-Conference first team.
In other tourney action, undefeated and nationally second ranked Walters State, the No. 2 seed, had little trouble advancing into the semifinals today with an easy win over Columbia State.
Roane State downed Jackson State and Chattanooga State eliminated Dyersburg State.