FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score) No. 3 Baker (Kan.) opened up the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship with a 74-61 win over No. 6 Cumberlands (Ky.) Wednesday morning at the Frankfort Convention Center.
The Wildcats, who are making their first-ever national championship appearance, will face the winner of No. 2 The Master’s (Calif.) and No. 7 Bethel (Tenn.) at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Friday.
Senior guard BriAnna Garza paced the Wildcats with a game-high 24 points and was one of three Baker starters in double-figures. Junior guard Kyrstie Ehm and senior guard Shea Shoemaker chipped in 17 and 12 points, respectively.
Overall, the Wildcats shot 44.8 percent from the field (26-of-58) and were also hot from 3-point range, making 6-of-19 threes (31.6 percent). Rebounding, where Baker held a 49-31 advantage, and free throw shooting, where Baker shot 84.2 percent, proved to be two key factors in the Wildcats first-ever national championship victory.
Three of Cumberlands starters scored in double-figures, led by senior guard Jill Herman’s 15 points. Junior center Brooke Forsythe was next with 14 points, followed by senior guard Lynnae Lampkins with 10 points.
As a team, Cumberlands shot 36.4 percent (24-of-66) from the field, but could not overcome 20.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc (4-of-20) and 56.3 percent shooting at the charity stripe (9-of-16).
With the loss, Cumberlands is eliminated in the first round of the national championship for the third-straight season and ends the year with a 19-11 record.