SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) Tenth-ranked Concordia (Mich.) built a 12-point first half lead and then held on in the second half for a 90-80 victory over fast-paced 24th-ranked Olivet Nazarene (Ill.).
The Tigers, who rely upon 3-point shots, made only 9-for-47 from beyond the arc in their bid to upset the third-seeded Cardinals in the first round of the 2013 State Farm-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships.
In the most competitive game of the tournament’s first session, Concordia’s backcourt duo of Abbey Hengesbach and Marion Rodriguez held Olivet Nazarene at bay with in a track meet-like contest. Hengesbach and Rodriguez combined for 60 points while providing most of the scoring punch in the clutch.
Hengesbach, a sophomore from Westphalia, Mich., came up three assists short of a triple-double as she finished with a line of 28 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. However, it was her defensive effort that was just as important. The Tigers made only 30 of their whopping 106 shots for 28.3 percent.
Olivet Nazarene cut its deficit to just one point at 70-69 at the 5:52 mark of the second half after Danielle Tolbert cashed in a three off the Concordia turnover. The Cardinals then scored the next seven points, five coming from Hengesbach and Rodriguez, to regain control.
The Tigers were led by the 18 points apiece from junior guard Miranda Geever and Tolbert. They finish their season with a record of 23-9.
Concordia advances to play in the second round on Friday at 10:15 a.m. when it will meet the winner between Wednesday’s matchup of No. 7 Northewestern (Iowa) and Mayville State (N.D.).
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