CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio – After sweeping the conference DIII teams this season, the Columbus State women's basketball team (12-15, 7-8 OCCAC) went into the District B Championship ready to cause an upset against No. 1 Rock Valley (29-2) and advance to national tournament. Yet they suffered some serious setbacks in the fourth quarter, resulting in the 68-58 for Rock Valley.
The Cougars came in on a high note, winning eight of their last twelve conference games to finish sixth in the OCCAC. Despite, the teams meeting previously in November, resulting in an 11-point loss for the Cougars, Columbus State's dynamic has shifted to feature three strong on the backcourt and three strong on the frontcourt.
Two players, Carli Codner-Pinto & Keyvona Davis, recently attained school record status (for points and rebounds respectively) as well as National Player of the Week recognition. Four of the six healthy players are ranked statistically in the top 50 among NJCAA DIII schools: Codner-Pinto is 13th in the country in points (21.9 ppg), Hunter Kershaw is 45th (16.9 ppg) while Davis and Antishay Rahim are ranked 18th and 22nd in rebounds with 12.3 and 11.4 respectively.
Sophomore point guard Codner-Pinto scored a team-high 21 points and tied her career-best eight boards on Saturday night. Two techs called on the Golden Eagles allowed Codner-Pinto to go 4-for-4 from the foul line. She also dished out five assists and managed two blocks. Codner-Pinto's moment came in the second quarter, when she led the Cougars with 3-for-4 shooting from the field and going 2-for-2 from behind the arc.
Sophomore forward Kershaw sunk in 14 points while freshman Allyse Rutter tallied double-figures with 11 points. Freshman Katlyn Ray and sophomore Davis each added five points while Rahim chipped in two.
Davis led the rebounding effort with 11 boards. Rutter and Rahim pulled down nine and seven respectively. Davis also smacked down a game-high seven blocks.
In the fourth, the weary squad struggled to maintain momentum, resulting in foul trouble. In fact, Rock Valley's only points in the last two minutes of the game came from six trips to the line.
Notwithstanding the sub .500 record (mostly due to DII losses), Columbus State's trio of talented sophomores (Codner-Pinto, Davis, and Kershaw) were hoping to lead the Cougars to a trip to the national tournament for the first time since 2000.