No. 25 Midwestern State simply dominated the opening half then cruised to a 66-52 NCAA Division II South Central Region semifinal win over Metro State (Colo.) Saturday night at Brownson Arena.
The Mustangs move on to face Colorado Mesa, a 78-68 winner over Texas-Permian Basin for the regional championship Monday night at 8 p.m. (Central Time) for the right to move on to the Elite Eight beginning March 26 in San Antonio.
Junior guard Kirsti Degelia poured in four of her five 3-pointers in the opening half and beat the buzzer before intermission to extend MSU's lead to 42-19.
The Mustangs blistered the nets at a 53.3-percent clip in the opening half while stifling the Roadrunners to 7-of-28 shooting (25 percent) from the field.
MSU pushed the advantage to 51-21 on Degelia's fifth trey of the contest six minutes into the second half.
She finished the game with a game-high 20 points on her way to becoming just the 11th player in program history to tally 500 points in a single season. Degelia now stands eighth on the list with 506 points.
Sophomore forward Andrea Carter notched her 17th double-double of the season finishing with 11 points and 14 rebounds as 10 different MSU players found the scoring column.
Sophomore guard Dianna Jones added to MSU's balanced attack with 9 points while sophomore post Taylor Dowd pitched in five. Shatoia Gober, Shambreka Jones, Ashley Rush and Skyler Warrick added four points each.
Midwestern State claimed its 26th win of the campaign which stands as the second most in program history. Only the 1993-94 squad posted more victories with 28.
Metro State ends its run of regional final appearances as two as the Roadrunners advanced to the Elite Eight in 2011 before falling in the same Round of 16 last season. MSU-D ends the season at 21-10.
Senior forward Corbin Thomas poured in 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead Midwestern State to an 81-60 win over Newman (Kan.) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Saturday night at Auraria Event Center.
"What a great win to start this tournament off and our guys found a way to pull this win out," MSU assistant coach Tres Segler said. "I was proud of the way the guys stretched out the lead against a very good Newman basketball team."
The Mustangs (22-8) advance to face No. 3-ranked and host Metro State (Colo.) Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. (Central Time). The Roadrunners sent Tarleton State packing by a 76-65 count earlier Saturday night.
Midwestern extended a first-half advantage to as large as 11 points on a Thomas lay-in for a 29-18 edge 3:23 before intermission, but the Jets fought their way back into the game behind reserve guard Shamar Acuay, who finished with a team-high 17 points.
Newman shaved the Mustangs' lead back to 32-26 at the half then cut it back to a single point after Bobby Wesley connected on a 3-pointer and Acuay converted a steal into a layup to pull the Jets to within 39-38 with 16:16 to play.
"They are so aggressive offensively and no lead is safe," MSU coach Nelson Haggerty said. "Those guys do a great job of penetrating to the bucket. We challenged our forward to sit down and guard. Our guys did a great job of keeping them in front."
That's when Thomas asserted as his will by scoring 11 points in a prolonged 31-8 MSU run after the Jets pulled with the single point.
Junior guard Cam Adderley, who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds, ignited the run with a traditional three-point play and ran out for a layup off of a Derrell Gibbs' steal as the Mustangs scored 11 consecutive points to stretch the advantage back to 50-38 with 13:46 to go.
The extended run culminated with four consecutive made free throws - two each by Kevin Grayer and Conner Geiser -- after Newman guard Bobby Wesley was assessed a technical foul with just under 6 minutes to play with the MSU lead at a game-high 24 points at 70-46.
"I just felt like we played our kind of Mustangs' basketball (during the run)," Segler said. "It was simple plays and great reads that led to easy buckets."
Midwestern dominated the glass by a 44-24 edge while limiting Newman starters to a total of 23 points.
Newman ends the season with a 20-8 mark claiming wins over Washburn (Kan.), Emporia State (Kan.), Pittsburg State (Kan.) and Fort Hays State (Kan.).