GREENVILLE, S.C. -- After winning 13 straight games, the Sabercats finally saw their winning streak come to an end in the NCCAA Final Four.
With a 62-50 loss to the four-time defending champions, #1 Arlington Baptist, the Sabercats will now play for the 3rd Place Game to conclude the season.
- Result: #4 Maranatha 50-62 #1 Arlington Baptist
- Venue: Davis Field House, Bob Jones University
- Location: Greenville, S.C.
- Attendance: 415
- Records: MBU (18-7), ABU (22-7)
Defense wins championships, as they say, and this Final Four contest showcased two staunch defensive openings, as the two teams combined for just 17 points in the opening quarter. Maranatha held Arlington to 3-19 shooting, and after Maranatha put up 10 points at the offensive end, it looked like Maranatha was making early tracks for the upset.
Then Arlington pressed.
The Patriots seemed to be everywhere defensively, as they pinned the Sabercats in their own half of the court. With Callie Morrison on the bench in foul trouble, the Sabercats had a double-threat working against them. and Arlington took their chance to change the momentum of the game. ABU put up 26 points in the second quarter while holding the Sabercats to 13. At halftime, the tide had turned, and the scoreboard read 33-23 in favor of the defending champs.
The third quarter saw the momentum swing back in Maranatha's favor, as MBU tightened up their defense as they did in the first quarter. Holding the Patriots to a sub-30-percent shooting performance, the Sabercats clawed their way back to make it a seven-point game: 47-40.
While the score was going MBU's way, the foul calls weren't. Morrison fouled out in the dying minutes of the third, and the Sabercats would have to pull off the upset without their 2nd Team All-American. Karley Johnson did her best to keep the Sabercats in the game (14 points, 12 rebounds), and Jacklyn Simpson added 13 points of her own, but Arlington would not be denied.
The Patriots kept the press on the Sabercats, and the defending champs began to pull away down the stretch. Kelsey Johnson joined Morrison in fouling out, and with both of the All-Americans on the bench, MBU was left with a mountain to climb.
Striking while the iron was hot, the Patriots closed the game out with less and less pressure from Maranatha. ABU showed their quality as the four-time defending national champions, and they will have a shot at a fifth straight title tomorrow.
MBU Starters: 3-Morrison, 12-Johnson, 13-Johnson, 23-Torres, 32-Simpson // ABU Starters: 10-Stanford, 11-Clark, 20-Waiters, 23-Gonzalez, 24-Woodward
- Karley: 14 pts and 12 reb
- Simpson: 13 pts and 6 reb
- Morrison: 10 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
- MBU: 25 team fouls was the most in a game this season
- Last time: Arlington beat Maranatha 93-53 at the 2017 NCCAA National Tournament
- Series: Arlington Baptist leads the series 3-1
- Arlington Baptist won the Southwest Region to qualify for nationals
- ABU is now riding a 9-game winning streak
- The Patriots is seeking their fifth consecutive national championship
The Sabercats will play in the 3rd place game against the loser of #2 Pensacola and #3 Randall tomorrow morning at 10:45 a.m. EST. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.