Tournament Most Valuable Player Amber Jones scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead UAB to a 68-60 victory over Cal-State Bakersfield in the championship game of the 2011 Women’s Basketball Invitational in Birmingham on Sunday (Mar. 27). With the victory the Blazers reached the 20-win plateau and ended the season at 20-15 while CSUB finished the campaign 22-12.
The Blazers of UAB held a slight 37-34 edge at the half in the second annual WBI. The two teams traded baskets in the back-and-forth second half. The visiting Roadrunners took command of the game midway through the half and took their largest lead, 50-43, with 13:12 to play. The Blazers battled and tied the game on numerous occasions. Jones made two free throws with 6:15 remaining to break a 58-58 tie and put UAB up for good. CSUB went cold the rest of the way as the Blazers outscored the visitors 10-2 over the waning moments of the game.
UAB won three of its four games on the road en route to the WBI title. UAB’s appearance marked the second consecutive WBI final appearance from a team from Conference USA as Memphis fell to Appalachian State in the 2010 chamionship. Meanwhile CSUB advanced to the final after participating last season.
Jones was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammate Amanda Peterson and Tyonna Outland and Amber Williams of CSUB. Tressa Beckel of Chicago State and Lindsey Lautsenhizer rounded out the six-person team.