Natalie Kelley scored 15 points and grabbed an astonishing 21 rebounds, but the University of Alabama in Huntsville women's basketball team fell 86-74 to West Alabama in the Gulf South Conference Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon at The Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College. The Lady Chargers drop to 23-6 on the season, while UWA improves to 14-14.
The Lady Chargers will return to Huntsville tonight to find out their NCAA tournament fate as the NCAA Women's Basketball Committee will announce the 64-team field during the Division II Women's Basketball Selection Show.
The first half featured two ties and five lead changes, but it was the Lady Chargers who enjoyed the most time ahead as Kelley spurred the squad with a strong stretch just past the halfway point of the opening stanza.
With the Blue and White trailing 13-11, Kelley scored the team's next eight points to ignite a 15-6 run that placed UAH on top by its largest lead of the period at 26-19 with 3:08 left until intermission.
However, a 10-2 run for the Tigers over the final three minutes capped by a Danielle Cole trey in the final seconds sent the second-seeded Lady Chargers into the locker room trailing 29-28.
West Alabama proceeded to lead the entirety of the second half as the Lady Chargers were able to pull within one at 37-36 with 14:42 left, but UAH could pull no closer as the team ended up trailing by as many as 18 points as the half wound down.
Kelley – who had a double-double in the first half alone with 10 points and 10 boards in the first 20 minutes – was joined in double figures by Jordan Smith who paced the squad with 20 points, while Bailee Robinson added 13 as did Jasmine Hammon. Morgan Duncan rounded out UAH's double-figure scorers as she chipped in with 10.
For the game, the Tigers outshot UAH by a 47.5 percent to 31.2 percent clip as West Alabama was led by the tournament's Most Outstanding Player Nikkia Jordan who scored 31 in the title game.
UAH was represented on the All-Tournament Team by Kelley and Hammon. The Division II Women's Basketball Selection Show will air at 9 p.m. tonight on NCAA.com.