DETROIT — Entering their game against Lake Superior State University (5-23, 5-17 GLIAC), the Wayne State University women's basketball team knew what was at stake: a victory would mean an outright regular-season Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) championship.
Although they trailed multiple times in the game, including in the second half, a 6-0 run late in the contest gave the Warrirors an 80-74 victory and its first GLIAC championship since the 1980-81 team.
With the game tied late, Shareta Brown made a basket with 24.7 seconds remaining on the clock to give the Warriors a 76-74 lead. Wayne State proceeded to make four consecutive free throws to help put the game away.
After losing three consecutive games entering the contest, winning a tightly contested game to clinch a GLIAC title could help the Warrors regain some confidence heading into postseason play next week.
"There was a stretch for about two weeks where we really did lose our confidence," said Wayne State head coach Carrie Lohr. "Good time to get it back. I did see a rejuvination this week in practice."
A Wayne State (20-6, 17-5 GLIAC) victory made Senior Night a whole lot more satisfying for Imari Redfield.
"It means a lot to win as a senior," she said. "I've been through a lot since I've been here. To come together on our last game and win the way we did was awesome. It's something I won't forget."
Aside from the success they've had this season, last year the Warriors won a co-GLIAC North title and made it to the NCAA regional final game. Given the kind of success Wayne State has had, which now includes back-to-back, 20-win seasons for the first time in program history, getting a strong effort from opponents isn't likely to come as a surprise to junior Kayla Bridges.
"We had an amazing first half of the season and were nationally ranked," she said. "People get excited when they play us; it's a chance to make a statement. They look at it as they have nothing to lose, so we get a lot of fight out of everybody."
Wayne State is scheduled to play at 7 p.m. March 5 at the Matthaei Center in a quarterfinal game of the GLIAC tournament against an opponent yet to be determined.