Midwestern State claimed its first NCAA Division II postseason victory in school history by doing just what has become common place this season.
The Mustangs whipped Tarleton State for the fourth time this season, claiming a 91-79 victory Friday afternoon at Brownson Arena in Grand Junction, Colo.
#25 MSU (25-5) moves on to face Metro State (Colo.) in the semifinal round Saturday at 6 p.m. (Central Time). The 6th-seeded Roadrunners claimed a 58-55 win over 3rd-seed St. Mary's (Texas).
The Mustangs got just what they needed from sophomore forward Andrea Carter, who notched her 16th double-double of the season with a season-high 23 points while pulling down 16 rebounds.
Carter's effort nullified another great performance by Tarleton State's Kiara Wright. The junior forward from Pittsburg tallied 26 of her game-high 30 points in the second half.
The effort helped the TexAnns equalize a hot start by the Mustangs, who blistered the nets at a 61.6-percent clip in the opening help and led by as many as 18 when Lisa Hampton drilled her second trey of the half to give MSU a 44-26 edge 1:26 before intermission.
Tarleton State may not have been that close if it wasn't for a career effort by Brianna Bledsoe, who knocked down five first-half treys to net 17 of her 19 points in the opening half.
But the TexAnns would come back to tie the game on three occasions before Midwestern went on an 11-1 run keyed by a Kirsti Degelia 3-pointer and capped by a pair of Ashley Rush free throws to give the Mustangs an 87-75 lead with 1:16 to play.
Sophomore guard Dianna Jones tallied 12 of her 19 points attacking the basket in the second half while Rush used the same recipe to score a season-high 12 points -- all in the second half.
Degelia connected on 6-of-13 shots from the floor including a pair of 3-pointers to finish with 14 points.
Tarleton State ends the season at 19-10.
The MSU Mustang men are no strangers to playing in a regional, but they haven't played one on the road in a couple of years.
There are only a couple of players left on this roster who played at all up in Edmond in 2011.
Then-redshirt sophomore forward Chris Buttermore played five minutes in the game against Missouri Southern, while then-senior Jon Trilli saw a minute of court time in the same game.
True freshman Matt Gallagher sat in the stands to watch that one during his redshirt season.
Newschannel 6 Sports Director Adam Ostrow talked to Buttermore and Trilli Friday about the differences between playing at D.L. Ligon Coliseum, and on the road.
Buttermore actually preferred playing on the road. "To be honest with you, it was better than when we played at MSU," the now-senior said. "Going into someone else's house where you're kinda the underdog a little bit."
Buttermore and Trilli only played those combined six minutes in Edmond, but that's six more than anyone else on the team has played in a Regional away from Wichita Falls.
Trilli is now in his second year as a graduate assistant coach. Friday he said it probably won't be as hostile an environment at Metro State as visiting teams face under the Dome.
"We don't really know what it's going to be like here [in Denver],"Trilli said. "But obviously this facility doesn't seat over 4,000 people. So it probably won't be quite as rowdy as there, as playing back at home."
Buttermore said the trip to the Rockies is definitely a change from the usual Regional site.
"This is kinda different because it's so much further away from home," he said. "We're up in the mountains and in Denver, in the middle of the city. It's just kinda different, but I feel like it's the same and I feel like it will be the same outcome."
That same outcome would be an unprecedented fourth-straight South Central Regional title for the Mustangs. No Division II school has ever done that.
The first step will be a matchup with 5th-seeded Newman University, of Wichita, Kan., Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. (CDT).