Johnson's 29 fuel Mavericks' victory

Updated: March 28, 2009, 12:09 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO -- Heather Johnson had 29 points to lead Minnesota State-Mankato to a 103-94 victory over Franklin Pierce in the Division II national championship game Friday night, the Mavericks' first basketball title in school history.

Johnson hit five 3-pointers to break the school record for a season, and finished 11-for-17 from the field. Alex Andrews added 25 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota State (32-2), while Tiffany Moe and Joanne Noreen each scored 18 points.

It was the first meeting between the schools, and the first appearance by either program in the finals.

After leading most of the game, the Ravens (29-6) used a 10-0 run that ended with Jennifer Leedham's basket to make it 82-74 with 10:57 left. But the Mavericks stormed back and after being tied at 88 with 5:25, they proceeded to go on a 12-2 run that helped put it away.

The Mavericks used their aggressive up-tempo play to push the pace of the game, and shot 55 percent from the field (41-of-74).

The 94 points was the highest scoring game of the year for Franklin Pierce.

Leedham was 12-of-20 from the field, including 5-of-7 from the 3-point line, and finished with 31 points to lead the Ravens, whose 13-game winning streak came to an end.

Leedham's sister, Johannah, added 26 points and 10 rebounds. The Division II player of the year also became the tournament career scoring leader 149 points.

The Mavericks set a ferocious pace in the first half, going up by as much as nine behind 7-for-10 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. But Franklin Pierce went on an 8-2 run to end halftime down only 58-56.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press