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War Hawks first winning season since 2011 ends in NCCAA's

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The most successful women’s basketball season for McMurry University in six years came to an end with a 71-62 loss to Southwestern Christian University in the semifinals of the National Christian College Athletic Association Central Region tournament at Alexander Gymnasium. The War Hawks close the book on 2017-18 with a final overall record of 13-12, the program’s first winning season since 2011-12 and first post-season appearance since 2012-13.

The two teams battled strong the entire afternoon, with neither achieving anything more than a single digit lead until the waning seconds when SCU led by 10. In the first half, the War Hawks built a five-point margin and the Eagles a seven-point cushion. There were eight ties and 14 lead changes.

In the early going, however, it looked like it could be a tough afternoon for McMurry. McM trailed 6-4 a little more than three minutes into the game when senior Sham Hunter was whistled for her second foul of the game. War Hawks head coach Brittany Densman-Roes called on Chyna Washington to replace Hunter in the lineup.

Washington immediately ignited a 9-2 run. On the first two McM possessions after she entered the game, Washington made a layup, followed by a steal and fast-break bucket as McM eventually went ahead, 13-8.

It got even more challenging for the War Hawks with 4:51 left in the first quarter, as sophomore guard Sarah Doherty also picked up her second foul. The resilient War Hawks still managed an 18-16 lead after one period and went into the halftime locker room tied, 33-33.

McMurry controlled the third period, as well. A three-point bucket by Skyler Reyna with 8:24 left gave the War Hawks a five-point lead, 38-33. SCU fought back to go on top, 43-42. Back-to-back Reyna jumpers gave McMurry a 46-43 advantage heading into the final segment.

The Eagles flew into the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run that erased McM’s lead and made the score 51-46. After a Washington free throw, Reyna hit a pair of free throws and a three-ball to put McM ahead, 52-51.

The score was tied, 57-57, with 3:20 left to play when Hunter hit a jumper, made a steal, and then had a breakaway layup. That gave the War Hawks a 61-57 lead with 2:51 remaining in the fourth. But that would be McMurry’s final field goal of the afternoon. The Eagles out-scored the War Hawks down the stretch, 14-1, to end McMurry’s season.

Reyna notched her 14th double-double of the season, tallying team-leading totals of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Reyna was 7-of-16 from the floor, including hitting 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. She also had one block and four steals.

Washington had 15 points and five rebounds, both career highs. She was 6-of-10 from the field.

Hunter capped her McM career with another solid all-around game. Hunter was McM’s third double-figure scorer with 13 points, while also grabbing six boards and posting a game-leading total of five assists.

Isabel Carrion matched Hunter with five assists and a game-leading three blocks, four steals, along with four points. Doherty added nine points and Dominique Machuca two points, to round out the War Hawks’ scoring.

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