Miller cuts through short field at third stop on JPNEWT to claim event title
Skip Maloney - AzB Staff
May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017
Briana Miller ended up winning just over three out of every four racks that she played during the third stop (her first appearance this year) on the J. Pechauer Northeast Women's Tour. But for three percentage points, that racks-against average would have been four out of every five. She went undefeated through a field of 23, on-hand for the $500-added (from Coins of the Realm) event, hosted by First Break Cafe and Billiards in Sterling, VA on the weekend of May 20-21.
After allowing only four racks to be scored against her through her first three matches, including an 8-1 victory over the tour's #1-ranked competitor, tour director Linda Shea, and a shutout over Kia Sidbury in the third round, Miller moved into what would prove to be her toughest challenge; a winners' side semifinal against Teri Thomas. Gwen Townsend, in the meantime, who'd been awarded an opening round bye, survived a second round double hill fight against Terri Stovall, defeated Britanya Rapp 7-3, and moved into the other winners' side semifinal against Rumi Brown.
Thomas chalked up two more racks against Miller (6) than her previous three opponents combined (4), but they weren't enough, as Miller advanced to the hot seat match 8-6. She was joined by Townsend, who'd sent Brown to the loss side 7-4. Miller shut Townsend out in that hot seat match, and waited on the return of Nicole King.
King, after a second round defeat at the hands of Rapp, went on a six-match, loss-side streak that gave her a shot against Miller in the finals. Three victories into that run, she eliminated Judie Wilson 7-5, and Anita Sowers 7-2, to draw Brown. Thomas picked up Jenn Keeney, who, going into the match, occupied the tour ranking's second spot, behind Shea (she was runner-up to Shea's victory on the tour's second stop). Keeney had been awarded an opening round bye and fell to Thomas 7-2 in the second round. Like King, Keeney was on a six-match, loss-side streak that would propel her as far as the quarterfinals. She'd gotten by Rapp 8-4 and Rita Thakur 7-3 to draw the re-match against Thomas.
As befitted a loss-side rematch, Keeney and Thomas battled to double hill before Keeney won it to advance to the quarterfinals. She was joined by King, who'd eliminated Brown 7-2. At the conclusion of her second straight double hill match, Keeney's loss-side streak had come to an end.
King followed up by ending Townsend's single-match loss-side journey with a 7-3 win in the semifinals. King entered this third stop on the tour with a .500 record through its first two events (4-4), finishing 9th and 7th previously. Moving into the finals, she was guaranteed at least the tour's third spot in the rankings, behind Shea and Keeney, whose fourth place finish kept her in the #2 spot. A win would have moved King into the second spot, five ranking points ahead of Keeney. Miller, appearing in her first JPNEWT event of the year, completed her undefeated run with a 7-3 win over King in the finals. The victory put Miller in sixth place in the tour rankings, behind Shea, Keeney, King, Meredith Lynch and Carol V. Clark. Miller, having already received an invitation to a North American Pool Tour Division 1 Pro event, deferred the qualifying spot for this event's winner to Nicole King.