FRANKFORT, Ky. (WRCB) -- Polk County graduate Hollie German hit two free throws with 3.7 seconds to play to send Lee University to the national championship game for the first time in program history with a 43-41 win over Cumberland University (Tenn.) in Monday night's NAIA women's tournament semifinal.
The Lady Flames (34-2) advance to face Westmont (Calif.) in Tuesday night's national final at 6:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised by CBS College Sports Network.
Westmont beat Freed-Hardeman 59-49 in the other national semifinal.
McMinn Central graduate Jenna Adams led Lee with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while German added 13 points in the low-scoring affair.
The Lady Flames shot an astounding 13.6-percent (3-of-22) from the field in the second half, including 0-of-6 from 3-point range, but managed to hold off Cumberland by making 11-of-14 free throws in the final 20 minutes.
The two teams combined to make just 10-of-47 shots from the field in the second half.
"That was a war," said Lee head coach Marty Rowe. "We missed so many layups, but we found a way to win the game and really showed our toughness down the stretch."
Cumberland raced out to a 9-2 lead in the first six minutes, but Lee rallied to pull even at 11-all at the 9:29 mark of the first half. A German bucket gave the Lady Flames a 26-20 lead at the break, but that would be the largest advantage for either team the rest of the way.
Simone Ryan's 3-point play gave Cumberland a 41-40 lead with 1:57 to play, but German made one of two free throws to tie the game 20 seconds later. The Lady Flames got stops on back-to-back possessions and owned the alternate possession arrow when Mary Jackson tied up Jessica Pace with 12 seconds left.
"I told the girls to put the ball in Hollie's hands and run the blur play (no screens) and let her take the ball to the basket," said Rowe.
German drove and was fouled with just under four ticks left. She calmly sank both free throws to give Lee the lead. Briannica Tye's game-winning 3-point attempt missed the mark as time expired, send the Lady Flames to their first national final.
Tye led Cumberland with nine points.
"I'm happy for our school and that we get a chance to represent our university in the national championship game for the first time," said Rowe. "I'm so excited. I can't wait till tomorrow gets here. This was a great opportunity for us to have to tough a game and take that next step.
"We still have one more step to take. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'm going to enjoy it. I can't wait to watch our team play. I couldn't be more proud of them."
Lee, which earlier in the tournament set a new single-season school record for wins, was playing in just its second NAIA Fab Four. The Lady Flames lost to Asuza Pacific in the national semifinals in 2010.
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