If, in fact, it was the last college game for seniors Janae Howard and Reilly Poirier they went out with a bang, albeit in a losing effort, when St. Catharine fell 78-63 Thursday to Shawnee State in the first round of the Mid-South Conference tournament held at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Howard scored a game high 33 points with 12 rebounds and Poirier had 14 points and 10 boards. Both players had been named to the All-MSC First team the day before the tournament began.
The Bears (23-8) took a 33-26 halftime lead and never trailed after intermission. The Patriots (19-11) scored the first five points of the second half to cut the lead to two points but the Bears scored the next six points to take control of the game.
The Bears shot 46 percent for the game while the Patriots shot only 31 percent. St. Catharine was 6-21 (29 percent) from 3-point range and Shawnee State was 4-10 from behind the arc.
Both teams were proficient at the foul line. The Bears made 18 of 23 charity tosses (78 percent) and the Patriots sank 13 of 15 attempts (87 percent).
Allanah Sheets, who was 12-14 at the foul line, led the bears with 28 points. Shawnee State, ranked 13th in the nation, advanced to play top seed Cumberland (Tenn.) Saturday at 2:00.
And St. Catharine will now play a waiting game to see if they can garner at at-large bid to the NAIA national tournament which will also be held in Frankfort. The field for that tournament will be announced March 6th.