Wright State basketball: Big shots quell IUPUI rally, send Raider women to Horizon League title game

Wright State’s Tyler Frierson (33) jumps for the opening tip against IUPUI’s Tamya Sims during a Horizon League tournament semifinal on Monday, March 11, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Jose Juarez/CONTRIBUTED

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Wright State’s Tyler Frierson (33) jumps for the opening tip against IUPUI’s Tamya Sims during a Horizon League tournament semifinal on Monday, March 11, 2019, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Jose Juarez/CONTRIBUTED

Three players scored in double figures as Wright State held off a second-half rally to down IUPUI 60-51 in the semifinals of the Horizon League women’s basketball tournament Monday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena.

The top-seeded Raiders (26-6) never trailed, but they were outscored 21-10 in the third quarter to cut a 12-point advantage to one, 38-37, heading to the fourth quarter.

>>RELATED: Raiders look to continue selfless play in Horizon League tournament

Fourth-seeded IUPUI had a chance to take the lead early in the fourth but Tamya Sims missed a driving layup.

After Emily Vogelpohl’s short jumper gave WSU a 3-point lead again, Sydney Roule had an open look at a trey that would have tied the game for the first time since it was 0-0.

She missed, and Vogelpohl swished a 3 at the other end to put Wright State back up six, 45-39, with 7:54 left.

It was a back-breaking shot that almost never happened.

Vogelpohl, a senior from Cincinnati, had an open look seconds earlier but passed it up, drawing a correction from her coach, who was standing just a few feet away.

What were Katrina Merriweather’s instructions for Vogelpohl?

“Pull it,” she said. “In the four years that she’s been playing at Wright State, she’s played four different positions. And in the course of a game she’ll play three and sometimes four depending on the matchup. So there are times she’s not very aggressive for herself. She’ll push the ball in transition but to get the ball for someone else. I think she’s kind of turned into a pass-first guard, and she needs to be reminded how good of a scorer she is.”

Vogelpohl finished with 10 points while Mackenzie Taylor led the Raiders with 15 and Angel Baker added 14.

Sims, who scored nine points, followed Vogelpohl’s 3 with a jumper to make it a four-point game again, but Taylor and Baker came back with back-to-back bakets to stretch WSU’s lead back to eight points with six minutes to go.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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The conference champion Raiders face IUPUI on Monday night in Detroit

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The win sends Wright State to the tournament championship game, where the Raiders will play Green Bay or at noon Tuesday.

The Raiders split their regular-season meetings with the Phoenix, and they will need to win the rubber match to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament for the second time in program history.

Merriweather said her team planned to get some rest Monday night and be ready to go bright and early Tuesday.

“I think it’s one of our biggest advantages over a lot of different teams: They’re not tired of playing, they’re not tired of each other,” Merriweather said. “They’re not ready for the season to be over. I think they really, really want to play hard and play well for each other and I think that’s what’s keeping them going right now.”

Wright State built an 8-1 lead in the early going, forcing four turnovers and 10 Jaguar misses on 10 field goal attempts in the first six minutes-plus.

Horizon League Player of the Year Macee Williams was 0 for 7 from the floor in the first quarter. She finished with eight points on 3-for-14 shooting for the Jaguars, who were led by Sydney Hall’s 12 points.

Green Bay, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, beat No. 3 Youngstown State in the second semifinal Monday afternoon.

The Phoenix are 16-time Horizon League tournament champions and are undefeated in the two-plus years it has been played in Detroit.

Green Bay will be playing in its 10th consecutive Horizon League tournament championship game while the Raiders are headed to their sixth overall and fourth in six years.

Wright State won its only tournament title five years ago when the Raiders knocked off the Phoenix 88-69 on their home floor.

Wright State lost 62-44 in the championship game to Green Bay last season.


TUESDAY’S GAME

Wright State vs. Green Bay, Noon, ESPNU

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