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NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! Women's basketball wins NCCAA title

NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!  Women's basketball wins NCCAA title

WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- The women's basketball team firmly etched their position into the record books as one of Greenville's all-time best women's basketball teams as they won the NCCAA national championship with a 67-48 victory over Emmanuel on Saturday.

The Lady Panthers controlled the game from the outset as they only trailed briefly in the first quarter.

Greenville's Meredith Crosier posted eight points in the first period as she helped Greenville race out to a 17-9 score in the first eight and a half minutes.  Greenville held a 19-12 lead after the first quarter.

The second quarter saw Greenville push their advantage to as many as 16 points with a 33-17 lead with two and a half minutes left in the half.  Emmanuel closed the deficit to 35-27 at halftime with a 10-2 run to end the half.

Greenville came out of the gate in the third quarter and immediately pushed the lead to 38-27 with Claire Schmitt's three pointer.  Greenville got a defensive stop, and Laura Goodnight's bucket made the score 40-27.  After three quarters, Greenville held a 49-38 lead.

The Lady Panthers saw their national championship aspirations move closer with each second that ticked off the clock in the fourth quarter.  Greenville outscored Emmanuel 18-10 in the final period.

NCCAA national tournament MVP Claire Schmitt capped her career with 20 points.  Fellow all-tournament team member Meredith Crosier posted a 15 point outing, and Morgan St. James came off the bench to tally 15 points.

During the tournament, the North Central Regional champion Lady Panthers defeated two NCAA Division II opponents and an NAIA Division I squad.

The Lady Panthers concluded their season with a record of 23-9, setting the school record for wins in a single season and bringing the first NCCAA national championship banner to H.J. Long Gymnasium.