The Lady Panthers advanced to the championship round the hard way as they began the day with a 4-1 win over Jackson State but dropped their next match to western division foe Southern 4-3. As a result, they fell into the loser’s bracket and had to fight for their lives as the next loss meant elimination from the tournament and the end of their season.
Prairie View quickly bounced back from the emotional loss to Southern as they defeated Grambling 4-0 which set-up a rematch against Jackson State. Unlike their easy win in the opener against JSU, Prairie View was pushed to the limit as it took seven games for them to record a 4-3 win.
After defeating Jackson State, Prairie View met up against nemesis Southern once again with the opportunity to earn a spot in the title match on the line. As expected, the match was full of emotion as Southern jumped out to a 3-2 lead which pushed Prairie View to the brink of elimination. With the season on the line against a tournament seasoned vet in Southern, the Lady Panthers came through in the clutch and defeated SU by only six pins in game six to tie the match. In the match finale, Prairie View took care of business and punched a ticket to the title match following a 178-156 win over the Lady Jaguars.
As expected, head coach Glenn White was emotional after Saturday’s barnburners.
“It’s hard to put in words,” said White. “This is what we’ve been working for since I came to Prairie View A&M. We’ve bowled more than anyone today to get to this point and I can’t be more proud of the team than how I am now.”
Prairie View, which advanced to the finals of the SWAC Bowling Tournament for the first time since 1997, will have to defeat Alabama A&M twice in order to capture the title. The Lady Panthers have defeated AAMU on several occasions throughout the season so both teams know each other well. It’ll also mark the first time the Prairie View A&M bowling program will receive national exposure as Sunday’s contest will air tape-delay on ESPNU Friday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m.
“We’ll remain positive and head into Sunday’s matches focused on winning the championship,” said White.