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Women’s basketball finishes runner-up in HCAC regular season and tournament

A tie for second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season race and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament were the rewards for a 20-8 season turned in by the women’s basketball team.

After opening the year with a 79-75 win over Wilmington College, the Pioneers split a pair of games in the Sodexho Classic, held in the Beck Center, falling to Ohio Northern University 66-58 in the opener and defeating Kalamazoo College 83-58 in the second game. Transylvania defeated Centre College handily 82-62 before beginning conference action.

Transylvania started slowly in HCAC play, dropping its first two league games, but then caught fire and went on an 8-0 streak before ending the season with a 13-5 league record, tying Franklin College for the runner-up spot.

Holly MilburnIn the conference tournament, played at Hanover College, the Pioneers easily got by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology 71-50 in a first-round game, then dispatched Franklin College 74-59 in the semifinals. Facing the 24-1 Hanover Panthers on their home court proved too much for Transylvania as the host team won 82-71 and clinched the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III championship.

“Our team continued to get better as the year progressed, and we played our best basketball in the conference tournament,” said head coach Greg Todd. “We were blessed to have outstanding seniors who provided leadership and productivity on the court.”

Two of the seniors—Olivia Akridge and Holly Milburn (pictured left)—had stellar years and were each named to the All-HCAC first team. Akridge led the conference in scoring with an 18.1 average while Milburn averaged 15.9 points and seven rebounds per contest. Akridge finished her Transylvania career with 1,259 points, placing her at No. 9 on the school’s all-time list, and Milburn wound up with 1,183 points, good for No. 11. Milburn’s total of 549 rebounds is 11th best in school history.

“It’s rare to have two players reach the 1,000 mark in career points in the same season, and Olivia and Holly did that within a week of each other,” said Todd.

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