After getting hot last March and claiming the inaugural G-MAC tournament title, the Urbana University women's basketball team had hopes of repeating their performance in their new home, the Mountain East Conference. Those hopes were dashed on Thursday afternoon after the sixth-seeded Blue Knights were eliminated 72-64 by the third-seeded Golden Eagles from the University of Charleston.
Neither team held a double-digit lead the entire way. Eleven different times the score was tied, including a 31-31 halftime draw. With about 3:30 to play, Urbana was still within two points of Charleston until a quick 7-0 spurt gave the Golden Eagles their largest lead of the afternoon. A DeVonyea Johnson three-pointer with 27 seconds remaining drew the Blue Knights back within four, but it was too little, too late after UC knocked down their final six free throws.
Foul trouble and a key injury also plagued the Blue Knights. Five players finished with four fouls. A fifth, starting forward Katy Barkley, fouled out, and one of her key replacements, junior forward Ebany Brumfield, suffered a game-ending injury early in the second half after recording 10 points and 8 rebounds in very limited action. All of Urbana's fouls led to a 31 for 42 performance by UC at the charity stripe. Urbana converted just 16 of 23 freebies.
Johnson led the Blue Knights in the loss. The senior guard finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in her final appearance in the Royal Blue and White. Her 560 points this season are the third most in a single season in UU history. Johnson ends her career as the sixth leading scorer in UU history with 1,385 career points. Brumfield was the only other Blue Knight in double figures. Barkley had 8 before fouling out and junior guard Lexie Taylor added 8 points and 3 steals off the bench.
Charleston improves 20-7 with the win, advancing to take on second-seeded West Liberty University in the MEC semifinals on Saturday. Urbana's season ends at 18-10. The team's 18 wins are the most since the 1998-99 season.