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Miles College Crowned SIAC Women's Basketball Tournament Champions, Earn Trip To NCAA Division II Rounds

The Lady Golden Bears earned their first automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

One year after coming up short, the Miles women's basketball team finally finished the job.

Led by a career-high 33 points from Tournament Most Valuable Player Feliah Greer, the Lady Bears overcame an early deficit and withstood a late comeback attempt from Kentucky State to win the 2024 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament 75-72 on Sunday afternoon. Miles (23-6) wins the league title and earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament next week.

The Lady Bears used the loss in last season's championship game to fuel their run towards the league title this year. Even as they fell behind by eight points in the first quarter, there was never any quit in a group that had dedicated themselves to completing the mission of winning the program's first title.

Credit: Miles College

Miles trailed by five points entering the second quarter but used its defense to get back in front. Kentucky State did not score for nearly seven minutes and the Lady Bears took advantage. Iemyiah Harris (15 points, four rebounds) nailed a 3-pointer to tie the game at 16 at the 7:55 mark. 

Greer followed with her own 3-ball and Tederia Ashley closed out the 10-0 run with a bucket as Miles opened a 21-16 advantage. The Lady Bears led just 27-26 at halftime, but it was the blitz at the start of the third quarter that put the team in a championship position.

When the second half started, Greer kicked it into another gear. Imani Williams (five points, six rebounds, five steals) got a steal and found Greer on the break. Her hoop and free throw started the run. She would score on the next possession, then got a steal and found the bottom of the basket again - all in the first minute of play. 

Lady Golden Bears win first SIAC Tournament Title; Credit: Nicholas G. Jackson

When Williams scored on another fastbreak, Miles had opened a 36-26 lead by the 7:05 mark of the quarter. The Thorobreds never got closer than six points the rest of the quarter and the Lady Bears entered the final period with a 49-41 cushion.

In the final quarter, Miles did not let up. KSU's top two scorers - Gracen Kerr and Taleah Dilworth - were mostly ineffective as Miles put the clamps on the Thorobreds' top two scoring options. Every time KSU did score, the Lady Bears had an answer, and most of them were right at the rim. As if the team was in a pregame layup line, Miles got easy buckets from Greer, Ashley and Madison Lee (eight points, five rebounds, three assists) to keep the Thorobreds at a distance. 

When Ashley (10 points, 14 rebounds, five assists) converted two free throws with four minutes remaining, the Lady Bears were up by 12 points - their largest lead of the game - and they could feel the championship was imminent.

Credit: Miles College

With 1:39 to go, Miles still led 67-57 but Kentucky State made their final push at the point. Miles was trying not to foul and the Thorobreds drove the basket for some easy layups. Meanwhile, the Lady Bears were struggling to convert from the free throw line, missing 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch. Meanwhile, KSU kept rallying when Naja Fenelon (team-high 16 points) drained a 3-pointer with four seconds left, the Lady Bears lead was down to 73-72.

But the Lady Bears had the final say. Greer was immediately fouled and she went to the line and made both of her free throws with 1.5 seconds on the clock. Having to go the full length of the floor, the Thorobreds were unable to get off a shot as time expired and the Lady Bears exalted in breaking their championship drought.

Sydney Thomas had 12 points and Dillworth added 11 for Kentucky State. Greer, who also had eight rebounds and three steals, was named Tournament Most Valuable Player. Harris, Williams, and Ashley also made the All-Tournament Team.

*Courtesy Miles College