Junior Samantha Devlin pulled up slightly on the accelerator Friday afternoon but provided the Hendrix women plenty of octane to gain the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference women’s semifinals at The Hangar Dome at Jackson, Miss.
The Warriors (16-10) easily disposed of Oglethorpe, 80-57, in the first round of the postseason tournament hosted by Millsaps College. Hendrix, the top seed from the West Division, will play Southwestern, the No. 3 seed from the West, in today’s 1 p.m. semifinal. The winner plays for the championship at noon Sunday. The Warriors defeated Southwestern twice during the regular season, 80-75 and 75-59.
In men’s play, Centre, the second-leading defensive team in the nation, locked down the Warriors in eliminating the Hendrix men (10-16), 54-46.
Devlin scored 21 poins on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and nine of nine from the line as the Warriors dominated from the beginning.
"Usually, I try to get all the way to the rim," she said. "Today, I found my pullup jumper."
"Everybody know Sam’s a penetrator; something we have been working on all season is trying to get her to pull up, pull up, pull up and shoot," said Hendrix coach Emily Cummins, whose team has won seven of eight. "She does not have the high rate success rate going all the way to the rim as with her pullup jumper. Hopefully, she now has confidence in that so that she’ll use it more."
The Warriors had a 45-24 rebounding edge.
"Every practice this week, we tried to emphasize position, shielding the ball with the body and going up strong. We crashed the boards and really boxed out today," Cummins said. "We felt to two keys we really had to hit on going in were mental toughness and physical toughness."
"Hendrix did everything I said they were going to," Oglethorpe interim coach Fallon Rehmert said. "But they did it well and we didn’t respond."
Christina Byler added 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Warriors, who placed four players in double figures.
"I felt comfortable from the beginning with the looks on our faces and the way we were crashing the boards and not backing down inside and executing the game plan and stepping up with our perimeter game," Cummins said. The Warriors, a turnover-prone team all season, had 21 Friday.
"That’s just us," said Cummins. "It comes down to us getting defensive stops to counter those turnovers."
It marked the third straight year the Hendrix women have met the Stormy Petrels in the first round of the tournament.
Centre forward Greg Ross scored a tournament record of 38 points in leading the Colonels to the victory over the Warriors in a low-scoring game.
Ross, who was 11-of-19 from the field and 16-of-21 from the line, added 11 rebounds. Post Alex Ross had 10 rebounds as the Colonels (19-5) walloped the Warriors on the boards, 50-25 and 14-4 on the offensive board.
Ammon Martin was the only Warrior in double figures with 18 on 7-of-16 shooting. Nick Heathscott had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting.
The Colonels, who led 24-15 at the half, shot 36 percent from the field for the game. Hendrix shot 35 percent.