by Megan Murray
An incredible season for the Millsaps women’s basketball team came to a heartbreaking end on Sunday as the Majors lost the Southern Athletic Association championship game. The Majors end the season with a 22-6 overall record.
Millsaps College hosted the SAA conference tournament throughout the weekend, bringing scores of Major fans to the Hanger Dome. The home crowd was in full force for the trio of games for the Majors. While home court proved an advantage for the Majors Friday and Saturday, it was not enough to secure the victory and conference title on Sunday.
With decisive wins over Birmingham Southern College (85-64) and Hendrix College (59-41) on Friday and Saturday, the Majors looked strong heading into the final game of the tournament. However, the title game did not fall in favor of the Majors. The Rhodes College Lynx came into the Hanger Dome with a vengeance Sunday, scoring the first 12 points of the game. The Lynx continued to dominate, shooting 57 percent in the first-half and a lethal 60 percent of three pointers.
Trailing 39-12 at the half, the Majors needed a miracle. The Majors and the Hanger Dome crowd came out blazing in the second half. With the home crowd behind them, the Majors captured an 8-2 run to start the half. Feeding off their defensive aggression, and holding the Lynx to just one field goal in the first 13 minutes of the second-half and creating seven turnovers, the Majors offense cut into the Lynx lead. But it was too little too late for the Majors, as they could not gain enough momentum to erase the first-half deficit and lost the SAA conference championship game 62-46.
Still, two Majors were selected to the All-Tournament team: Velvet Johnson and Miah Brooks. After the game, Johnson said, “A lot of emotions hit me at once: The realization of it being my last year and I just played my last game as an undergrad, and the opportunity to help my teammates, coaches, and support system we had at the school win a conference championship ring and title. However, I was proud about all of the success we accomplished and how I was able to play with people who always gave their best and never backed down when we faced adversity.”
Photo courtesy of Millsaps Sports Information
“Coach Winkelman and Roscoe Forch challenged us every day to be our best and we did not want to give anything less,” Johnson added. “They prepared me for life and obstacles it will bring on and off the court.”
Following the game, Coach Chuck Winkelman simply said, “After a great season and tournament, the girls deserved better.”