Patriots are 2016 ASC Tournament Champions - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Patriots are 2016 ASC Tournament Champions

TYLER – UT Tyler Athletics Release 

The No. 4-ranked UT Tyler Patriots secured the program’s second American Southwest Conference Championship with a 77-70 win over Howard Payne on Saturday after outscoring the Yellow Jackets by 11 points in the fourth quarter at the Herrington Patriot Center – which is also known as Champions Territory and a home court where they are now 16-0 at this season.

The Patriots (27-1), who also won the tournament title in 2014, have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament and will find out where and who they will play at next week’s regional on Monday when the NCAA airs its selection show at 1:30 p.m. on UT Tyler, which is the top-ranked team in the region and enters the national tournament on a 19-game winning streak, will host a watch party on Monday at Republic Icehouse.

Michelle Obach led the Patriots with 26 points in the win over the Yellow Jackets (18-10) after knocking down four 3-pointers and going 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Obach was named the ASC Championship’s MVP after the win and is now averaging 18.1 points per game with 68 3-pointers this season. Alex Kochner would record her second straight and fourth overall double-double after grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 12 points for the Patriots, while Re’Elle Miller and Shuntay Raglin also had 12 points.

"It's a bit breath taking," Kochner said. "I don't really know what I'm feeling."

Raglin and Miller were the only two non-starters to score for the Patriots in the tournament final which saw them trail by as many as 12 points in the first half and went into the fourth quarter down 58-54. The Patriots would finish the game by outscoring HPU 23-12 in the final 10 minutes despite connecting on only one 3-pointer in the second half. UT Tyler came into the game averaging 9.44 3-pointers per game but had only five on Saturday with Obach’s four and Makenzi May hitting one. May took only two shots from beyond the arc in the game and finished with eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.

"We're really mentally tough," May said. 

“It's overwhelming because we've worked so hard for this,” UT Tyler sophomore Alexus Bertrand added. “It just shows that we have heart.”

Along with Obach earning tournament MVP, Kochner and Matthews were named to the all-tournament team. 

UT Tyler has matched the program’s all-time win total of 27 which has now been accomplished three straight seasons. The Patriots have already established the program’s single-season record with 261 3-pointers, an 84.2 scoring average, 839 field-goals made, 509 offensive rebounds, 510 assists and are tied for the program record with 1,236 total rebounds which was the total from the 2013-14 season in 30 games.

The first and second rounds of the women's NCAA championship tournament will be played March 4-6, with sectionals scheduled for March 11-12. The semifinals are scheduled for March 19 at the Performance Arena in Columbus, Ohio hosted by Capital University, and the championship will be played in conjunction with the Division I and II championship games at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 4.

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