Lady Crusaders

UMHB’s Kendall Rollins (21) and Aubrie Elliott battle for a rebound during Saturday’s loss to East Texas Baptist in Richardson.

RICHARDSON — Mary Hardin-Baylor’s bid to clinch the program’s first berth in the women’s NCAA Division III Tournament came up one point short in a 71-70 loss to East Texas Baptist on Saturday in the championship game of the American Southwest Conference tournament.

The Lady Crusaders (23-5) now have to hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney when the field is announced Monday afternoon.

After the teams were knotted at 56 through three quarters, UMHB took its only lead of the fourth on Haven Neal’s layup that made it 70-69 with 35 seconds remaining. Kim Childress answered with a bucket for ETBU with 14 seconds to go, and Neal’s jumper was off the mark on the Lady Crusaders’ final possession 8 seconds later.

Hannah Holt had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds for UMHB, which got 16 points from Aubrie Elliott and 10 each from Neal and Alicia Blackwell. The Lady Crusaders shot 49 percent from the field and were 12-of-12 at the free throw line.

Katy Boren scored 14 points to pace ETBU (22-6), which shot 48 percent from the floor and earned the league’s automatic bid to the national tournament.

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