Not this time. Not by R.A. Hubbard.
Dodd put on a show in the third quarter and guided Lynn to its first ever Final Four appearance in the process.
Lynn’s senior center scored 29 points and didn’t miss a shot in the second half as Lynn earned a 53-43 victory over nemesis R.A. Hubbard in the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State-Hanceville on Saturday.
Over the last two years, R.A. Hubbard used dominating third-quarter performances to pull away from Lynn and pick up regional victories.
Lynn turned the table on the Chiefs this time.
“We knew the third quarter had to be ours. We took it,” said Dodd, who earned regional MVP honors. “In the third quarter I said, ‘I’m not going to let them have it this year. They can’t have the third quarter. The third quarter is ours.’”
Actually, it was Dodd’s. She scored 10 straight points in a 2:22 stretch to turn a one-point deficit into an nine-point lead. Hubbard didn’t get within six points the rest of the way. Dodd was a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor in the second half. She added 15 rebounds.
“Right before the third quarter, we got in a huddle. For about 20 seconds we said that we were going to let this be our quarter this year,” Lynn coach Adam Gray said. “We played a lot better than we had in the past. It was probably the difference in the game.”
Next up for No. 4 Lynn (31-1) is a Final Four game against No. 8 Keith (30-3) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
R.A. Hubbard star senior Alex Gholston had given Lynn fits in the past three years. She torched Lynn for 27 points and earned regional MVP honors last year. On Saturday, she was a non-factor in the second half. Lynn held her scoreless in the third quarter and she finished with six second-half points.
“When you play R.A. Hubbard, you prepare for Alex Gholston,” Dodd said in the interview room after the win. “When we are on the court, we aren’t friends out there. She’s talking in my ear and I’m talking in hers. We had a break through and got past them. Finally, I’m sitting in here a winner and she’s going home.”
The Bears got off to a slow start. The Chiefs closed the opening quarter with a 9-4 lead. Lynn trailed by as many as seven points twice in the second quarter.
Hubbard got back-to-back scores from Gholston and Tarika Bowman to take a 15-8 lead with 3:13 left in the first half. Lynn battled back, getting a pair of free throws from Lindsey Tompkin and a 3-point play from Dodd.
Lynn trailed 18-13 late in the first half, but Dodd made a shot with one second on the clock to cut the gap to 18-15 at the break. Dodd’s score started a 16-0 Lynn run. She had 12 points during the spurt.
Tittle cut Hubbard’s lead to one point at 18-17 at the 7-minute mark. From there, it was all Dodd.
Her turn-around jumper in the lane gave Lynn the lead for good at 19-18 with 6:10 left in the quarter. Dodd followed with a pair of free throws and, after a Hubbard turnover, she made a driving layup.
On Lynn’s next possession, Dodd took a feed from Tittle for another basket and she added two more scores for a 27-18 advantage. Tittle closed Lynn’s run with a score that pushed the Bears’ lead to 29-18 with 3:10 left in the quarter.
Lynn led 33-25 after three quarters and No. 2 R.A. Hubbard (20-6) got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
Dodd put the Bears up 39-31 with a basket with 5:25 left in the game. Down the stretch, Lynn knocked down 12 free throws to seal the win.
Only four players scored points for Lynn. Tittle had 16 points, four rebounds and two assists, Tompkin had six points and Emma Easley added two.
Both Tittle and Tompkin joined Dodd on the All-Tournament Team.
For R.A. Hubbard, Gholston had 21 points and eight rebounds, Ashlen McCoy added seven points while Oresha Sherrod put in five.
Keith, Lynn’s Final Four opponent, advanced by winning the Central Regional Tournament title 45-44 over Loachapoka.