The Georgia Soul overcame a 13 point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the defending WBCBL champion St. Louis Surge 64-63 Sunday in the league's national championship game. The win was the Soul's third of the weekend in an eight team tournament which featured Women's Blue Chip Basketball League region champions from California, Missouri, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Louisiana. The championship game, played on the Surge's home court, kept the capacity crowd on its feet and the Soul's faithful fans in Augusta glued to the live web stream.
Khadijiah Cave, the former Baylor University and Laney High star, garnered tournament MVP honors after scoring 14 points and grabbing 21 rebounds in the championship game. The rookie center who will soon head to Switzerland to further her professional career calmly sank two free throws with 1:16 remaining that put the Soul ahead for good at 64-63. Lacoya Terry, a first team WBCBL All Star last season, led the Soul with 18 points, including 9 in the fourth quarter. Terry, who excelled at East Carolina and before that Hephzibah High, let out a huge yell when her three point play tied the game at 60 with 2:31 remaining after she stole the ball near half court and teammate Morgan Jennings found her for the score.
But it was former Francis Marion and Laney High star Eboni Fields, another returning All Star, who ignited the comeback. Every time the Soul's prospects seemed hopeless, Fields gave the team life. When Georgia trailed 50-37 with just over 9 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, she nailed a three from the left corner, making it 50-40. One minute later she dribbled over a high screen and drained another bomb from the top of the key, cutting the deficit to 50-45. And what turned out to be her biggest shot came with 2:42 remaining when her three from the left wing cut the Surge's 60-54 lead to 3 points just seconds before Terry's steal and three point play made the score even for the first time since 0-0.
Fields scored 12 points, making 4 three pointers, all in the second half. She explained Monday how she was able to maintain her confidence after failing to make a field goal in the first half:
I was being very hard on myself the 1st half because my shots were not falling. At halftime my teammates and coaches kept telling me keep shooting. We believe in you they will fall. Don't think about it; just shoot. After I saw the 1st shot go down it helped pick my confidence up to just shoot how I know how. My teammates found me and I was grateful they fell when it was needed.
In an interview with another outlet, Terry also talked about the way the players stuck together through the adversity of trailing throughout the first three quarters. Their resilience paid off and made for a satisfying finish to the organization's second season in which the Soul finished 15-3 and capture the attention and excitement of a large portion of Augusta's basketball fans, who followed along on the webcast (see here) and celebrated on social media for many hours afterward.