INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Macee Williams recorded his third straight Horizon League Tournament double-double with 19 points and 18 rebounds, and the IUPUI seed beat No. 4 seed Cleveland State 61-54 on Tuesday to secure a automatic offer to the NCAA Tournament.
IUPUI was playing its third straight Horizon League Championship Game – winning the 2019-20 season before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
IUPUI had an 18-point lead midway through the third quarter before Cleveland State closed on a 15-3 run, capped by a 3-point Destiny Leo, to sit at 45-39.
Destiny Perkins scored 10 points in the 3:38 final to help secure the victory for IUPUI. Perkins stole and missed a quick layup, but IUPUI got the offensive rebound and Rachel McLimore was fouled and made two free throws for a 52-49 lead. After Leo spun into the lane for a layup to get Cleveland State two-pointers, Perkins was fouled making a 3-pointer and his free throws made it 57-51 with 1:34 left. to play.
Perkins finished with 15 points and McLimore added 11 points for IUPUI (24-4). Williams broke his own Horizon League record with his 38th tournament rebound in the third quarter.
Williams scored nine of IUPUI’s 21 points in the first quarter as the Jaguars held a 14-point advantage. Williams hit double digits in the first minute of the second quarter and earned her 13th double-double of the season on a rebound with 3:38 left in the second quarter. Williams had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the first half to help IUPUI lead 30-19.
Williams was the obvious MVP of the tournament after recording 25 points and 12 rebounds in IUPUI’s 72-41 opener win over Robert Morris, and 27 points and 15 boards against Oakland in the semifinals. In late February, Williams was named Horizon League Player of the Year for the fourth straight season, becoming the fourth Division I women’s basketball player to accomplish the feat.
Leo, the Horizon League’s second-leading scorer, scored 14 points for Cleveland State (19-8). Gabriella Smith also scored 14 points.
The Jaguars are NCAA winners in 19 of their last 20 games – and also have a 74-73 victory over the then No. 1. 15 Iowa on Dec. 21 and a 67-62 overtime loss to No. 11 Michigan in the season opener.
More AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
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