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Robinson propels Lady Buffs into AAC semifinals

Johnson City Press • Updated Feb 21, 2019 at 10:40 PM

KINGSPORT—Sarah Robinson took over.

That was a good thing for Milligan College, which was dealing with an upset bid by seventh-seeded Bluefield on Thursday in the Appalachian Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament.

Crafting a 25-point, 21-rebound performance, Robinson lifted the 21st-ranked Lady Buffs, seeded second, to a 56-53 quarterfinal victory at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center.

Milligan meets Tennessee Wesleyan in Friday’s semifinal action. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

Robinson, whose rebounding total matched a school record, had a double-double hardly four minutes into the third quarter en route to second-half totals of 19 points and 13 boards. She scored her team’s final five baskets over the final 6 1/2 minutes and helped the Buffs erase a two-point deficit with three minutes left.

Winning its fourth straight game to improve to 26-5, Milligan has now triumphed in 10 of its last 11.

The contest featured seven ties, seven lead changes and each team leading by as many as seven. Milligan earned its largest lead after an Emily Kiser 3-pointer, Milligan's only trey game, made it 13-6 in the first quarter — but Bluefield (15-16) earned its largest lead (26-19) with a 13-0 second-quarter surge.

The two squads went to the half with Bluefield ahead 27-21.

Milligan started the third quarter on a 9-2 run to move back in front, and neither team led by more than two possessions the rest of the way. In fact, after Bluefield's Cierra Cook made a free throw with roughly 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, neither team led by more than three.

Robinson converted a basket with 1:04 left to put Milligan up 55-53, and the Buffs held the Rams scoreless for the final minute — making enough stops on the defensive end and Emma Kate Brown adding a little cushion with a made free throw 30 seconds from the end.

While Robinson was the only Milligan player in double-digit scoring, eight others made it into the scoring column. Kaely Gose scored six, with Andi Lamb, Teal Davis and Kiser adding five apiece.

The Buffs were cold from 3-point territory, shooting just 1-for-18 (5.6%).

Cook topped the Lady Rams, who suffered from poor foul shooting (14 of 29), in scoring with 15 points. Danae Cox tossed in 13 and Courtney Kendrick contributed 10 points and 11 rebounds.

REBOUNDING RECORD

Robinson tied Becky Sells and Mackenzie Raizor for Milligan's single-game rebounding record. Sells established the mark on Jan. 16, 1999 against Covenant College and Raizor recorded her total on Nov. 7, 2018 in the AAC opener at CIU.

Only four known players have gone over the 20-rebound mark in a single game in Milligan history.

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