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Columbia College women's basketball advances to AMC championship

Friday, March 5, 2010 | 8:13 p.m. CST; updated 10:09 p.m. CST, Friday, March 5, 2010
Columbia College senior Veronica Smith jumps up for a layup against Williams Baptist on Friday at the Arena of Southwell Complex. The Cougars won 95-63 to advance to the AMC title game.

COLUMBIA — The Columbia College women's basketball team got exactly what it wanted in the 95-63 romp of Williams Baptist (Ark.) on Friday night in the American Midwest Conference tournament semifinals.

A big win, a spot in the finals, the 100th win for Whitney Davis and Whitney Widaman, and, most importantly, a chance at revenge against William Woods.

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"We're hungry for them," junior center Denise Rosario said.

William Woods used a late-game push to beat Missouri Baptist 69-57 to advance to the finals and win home-court advantage against the Cougars.

And none of that scares the Cougars. Actually, it just makes them smile.

"We want that game," senior forward Veronica Smith said. "We wanted them to win tonight. We want to go in there and cut their nets down and celebrate on their court."

Smith had a game-high 27 points and 11 rebounds, Rosario added 21 points, and senior forward Rachel Oswald racked up 18 points to "take care" of the Williams Baptist Eagles, as coach Mike Davis put it.

"We really came out with a lot of focus and energy. We had a lull for a bit, but then we got back to playing well," Mike Davis said. "This team is playing with a lot of purpose."

Right now, it seems like the Cougars' only purpose is to beat William Woods in Fulton on Monday in the AMC finals. And they are brimming with confidence.

"We're ready to go," Oswald said. "We know we're going to nationals already, but we want to go to nationals the right way. And the right way is to beat [William Woods] and celebrate all over their court."

The Cougars made just a few mistakes in their loss to the Owls on Feb. 27. That game gave William Woods a share of the regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. But Columbia College is ready to correct those mistakes.

"We felt like that loss was our fault," Smith said. "We felt like we had that game. It's hard to beat a team three times in one season, but now we're all even.

"We have the national tournament in mind, but William Woods is our number one priority right now."

Although the Cougars played their last game at the Arena of Southwell Complex for the season, it was by no means a sad event.

Whitney Davis and Widaman joined the coaches at center court to receive a basketball in commemoration for their 100th career wins at Columbia College in their last game at home.

"I was really proud of them for that," Mike Davis said of his daughter, Whitney, and Widaman. "There's very few people out there that can claim that they were a part of something like this. And I think that speaks more than any one win that they'll get.

"You can't draw up something much better than that."


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