LAKELAND, Fla. (February 29, 2020) – The Wildcat's historic season added another jewel in its crown on Saturday as the Johnson & Wales (Fla.) women's basketball team (22-7) claimed the program's first Sun Conference title with a 71-63 win over Webber International (19-12).
This marks the first team championship by a JWU team since men's golf won their third-straight in 2017. It also becomes the first team conference title by a squad other than the men's golf program.
In a game which JWU trailed for only 43 second, the Wildcats were led by First-Team All-Sun Conference honoree Tianna Ayulo, who posted 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field and 5-fo-7 shooting from the free-throw line. The native of Hollywood, Florida, grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds to register her eighth double-double of the season and second of the tournament. The 32 points scored by Ayulo were the most in a TSC Finals since 2012. Named the tournament MVP, Ayulo averaged 29.3 points-per-game and 11.0 rebounds-per-contest while shooting 66.0 percent from the floor. She also registered 14 assists and seven steals in the three tournament games.
Junior Chrystal Pressley registered 12 boards versus the Warriors as JWU out-rebounded WIU, 52-34, and held a 19-12 edge on the offensive glass.
Rounding out the team's leading scorers were Lexie Jackson (9), Shikal Gillion (8), and Alexis McClain (8).
The Wildcats ended the afternoon shooting 43.5 percent from the floor (27-of-62) and was 6-of-17 from 3-point range (35.3 percent). WIU made 22-of-64 of its attempts from the floor (34.4 percent) and shot 21.2 percent (4-of-19) from downtown.
With the win, JWU earned an automatic berth in the 29th Annual Division II Women's Basketball National Championships, March 11-17, in Sioux City, Iowa. The NAIA selection show will take place Wednesday, March 4, and will air live on Facebook (7 p.m. ET).
The Sun Conference 2019-20 Women's Basketball Championship All-Tournament Team
Kaliyah Little, Coastal Georgia
Eliza West, Southeastern
Leandra Franklin, Webber International
Paris Copeland, Webber International
Lexie Jackson, Johnson & Wales (Fla.)
MVP – Tianna Ayulo, Johnson & Wales (Fla.)