Wright State’s Completes Comeback Against IUPUI, Now Championship Game Bound
By Seth J. Walker
Detroit- The third seeded Wright State Raiders completed a fourth quarter comeback to beat the second seeded IUPUI Jaguars to advance o the Horizon League Championship game against Green Bay.
The first three quarters were marked by a defensive battle with the Jaguars leading 40-34 after 30 minutes. Then the Jaguars appeared as if they were going to break the game open courtesy of senior guard Danielle Lawrence scoring five points within the first minute and a half of the fourth quarter.
Then, junior guard Symone Simmons’ layup sparked a comeback which ultimately propelled the Raiders to victory. Simmons scored nine of her 12 points in the fourth quarter and also grabbed several key rebounds to give the Raiders momentum.
“Every time anyone asks me who was the difference in the game, it’s always Symone Simmons,” Raiders head coach Katrina Merriweather said. “Symone Simmons is our X-factor and when she can rebound the way that she did when she can knock down a couple of threes, when she can aggressively attack the basket and sit down and defend. Symone is very difficult to handle.”
Senior guard Chelsea Welch also figured prominently in the comeback. The reigning Horizon League Player of the Year led the Raiders with 17 points and eight assists, but two of her five steals during the finals minutes helped close the door of any potential Jaguar comeback. This came after a stretch in which Welch was very frustrated while sitting on the bench in the third quarter, having to be calmed down by an assistant coach.
“I was just really frustrated that shots weren’t falling (for me),” Welch said. “We were calling offense and I was just so open and was like, “Oh, this is in” and I just couldn’t buy a basket. So, I was just getting really frustrated. So yeah, I just took a second (to) calm down on the bench and regroup myself and try to stay, try to stay as positive as I could, no matter where I was, for my team. Once I recollected myself, I was ready to go back in and help my team win.”
Senior guard Danielle Lawrence led the Jaguars with 17 points. Freshman guard Macee Williams was the only Jaguar in double figures with 10 points.
“I felt bad for Danielle because I felt like she had the right mentality,” Jaguar head coach Austin Parkinson said. “She had some nice looks. We were running some stuff through her. But really, what it looked to me like no one else wanted to shoot. We had a couple open looks we passed up and once we passed it up, it allowed them to recover and then they jumped in passing lanes. The game is not going to be handed to you, you have to take the game. We needed to have some players step up and have that mentality. We didn’t do it.”
The Raiders advances to the Horizon League Championship game against Green Bay, which beat Youngstown State in the semifinals. The Jaguars will receive an automatic bid to the WNIT as long as Green Bay wins the championship, but can still possibly gain an at-large bid if Wright State wins the championship. The Horizon League championship game will be Tuesday at noon.