CRESCENT HILLS, KY – The La Roche Lady Redhawks put together an incredible performance in their NCAA Tournament First Round matchup with Eastern Mennonite. They held a double digit lead and had the South Region's #2 ranked team scrambling, but an Eastern Mennonite layup in the closing seconds lifted the Royals to a 77-76 victory.
LaShauna Brothers was on fire early scoring 14 points including a pair of threes to take an early 19-13 lead into the second media timeout (11:52 first half). The Lady Redhawks played extremely fast running the floor and forcing an uncharacteristic nine Eastern Mennonite turnovers and turning that into 17 points.
La Roche led by as many as 14 points in the opening half and carried a 42-34 advantage into the break. Brothers provided 23 points and 8 rebounds while Shataya White, Mackenzie O'Donnell and Sabrina McLin each had 3 assists.
The Lady Redhawks continued to bring their aggressive defense in the second half and Eastern Mennonite had little answer. La Roche built up an eighteen point lead with less than twelve minutes left before foul trouble let the Royals back in it.
Despite La Roche's best efforts, Eastern Mennonite eventually took a one point lead inside of a minute. Mackenzie O'Donnell answered with a turnaround jumper to put La Roche ahead with 11 seconds left. It looked as if the Lady Redhawks would escape with the victory but Eastern Mennonite found a layup with 4 seconds remaining and hung on for the win.
Brothers had an unbelievable game to move into third place on La Roche's all-time points list. She finished with 32 points and 9 rebounds and hit 13 of 21 shots. O'Donnell finished with 14 points (7 of 10 field goals) while McLin had 13 points and 6 assists. Danasha Harris and Shataya White each had 5 assists for the Lady Redhawks.
La Roche hit eleven more field goals (33 for 64) than Eastern Mennonite (22 of 58) but the difference came down to foul shooting. Eastern Mennonite attempted twenty-five more free throws hitting 27 of 33 to La Roche's 7 of 8.
Shakeerah Sykles finished with 28 points and 16 rebound to lead Eastern Mennonite.