Lady Movin' Mavs go undefeated, win second national title

The Lady Movin' Mavs celebrate after defeating the University of Alabama 65-55 and securing their second national title during the 2018 National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament on March 17 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota.

MARSHALL, Minn. – The Lady Movin’ Mavs capped off a perfect 20-0 season, claiming its second national title in three years at the 2018 National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament finals on Saturday.

The Lady Movin’ Mavs defeated their rival, the University of Alabama, 65-55.

“It feels really good, honestly. It's not about beating that team, it's about seeing [the Lady Movin' Mavs] win and them being successful,” head coach Jason Nelms said. “We’ll enjoy the bus ride home and get right back to work.”

UTA played the first quarter with intensity and a chip on its shoulder, seeking revenge after falling to Alabama in the 2017 championship.

The team would make its first four shots of the game and were led by seniors Abigail Dunkin who scored eight points in the quarter and Rose Hollermann who had six. Graduate student Morgan Wood played the point guard role for the team distributing the ball four times in the quarter.

For every transition layup the Lady Movin’ Mavs would convert, Alabama would answer with an arsenal of transition mid-range shots. The quarter would be tightly contested as UTA held on to a slim 18-17 lead entering the second.

The second quarter is where UTA would pull away from the Crimson Tide after Nelms left his starters in for most of the game until he called his first timeout at the 5:25 mark.

A give-and-go between Hollermann and freshman Annabelle Lindsay would extend the team’s lead to nine points, forcing an Alabama timeout. Hollermann would finish the half with 18 points alongside Wood who dished out nine assists.

UTA outscored Alabama 22-12 in the quarter, taking a 40-29 lead to the second half. 

A physical third quarter would see UTA struggle to shoot the ball, as Alabama would outshoot the Mavericks 58.3 percent to 43.8 percent from the field. The referee had to stop the action during the 1:10 mark as the intensity of the game escalated and an Alabama player took a hard fall. The Lady Movin’ Mavs would end the third quarter leading 54-45.

The last quarter of the season for both teams would be the most closely contested quarter of the game. With six minutes left to be played, Hollermann owned a game-high 28 points.

Alabama played the fouling game toward the end of the quarter. The game slipped away from the Crimson Tide as UTA went 5-9 from the free throw line.

“It's always fun beating Bama, they’re really a phenomenal team, they’re really strong,” Dunkin said. “I know they’re gonna come back for revenge next year. I’m really looking forward to playing them again.”

Wood’s free throws would extend the team’s lead to 64-55 with only two minutes left in the game. Wood finished the game with a double-double, collecting 10 points and 12 assists.

Alabama was then forced to shoot tough threes and make hard fouls, but it would not stop UTA from pulling away to victory.

Hollermann was announced as the tournament MVP after having a performance of 30 points and six rebounds. Dunkin would also grab six rebounds and score 14 points.

“I think this has been our best team yet and we’ve gone through lot of adversity,” Dunkin said.  “We’ve had teammates that have had to leave through medical issues, teammates that dealt with concussions, with adversity on and off the court.”

The Lady Movin' Mavs posted a historic undefeated season on their way to being crowned the national champions.

“It’s great, last year we came in with the hopes of doing the same thing and kind of fell short of it,” Hollermann said. “It was great to come in here and be able to keep on going. It’s hard to put into words. It's kind of redemption, being able to come in and beat them, it's awesome.”

@AbhijitMody12

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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