Southwestern (Kan.) beat Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), 112-107; NAIA DII Women’s Basketball

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) One championship record fell and another record was tied, as No. 3 Southwestern (Kan.) knocked off No. 7 Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), 112-107, in the second round of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm.

The combined total of 219 points shatters the previous championship record of 199 points set in 1994 by Northern State (S.D.) and Panhandle State (Okla.).

Southwestern, which with 112 points ties Briar Cliff’s (Iowa) 1997 record for most points scored in a game, advances to the quarterfinals of the national championship for the first time in program history. Prior to Friday, the Moundbuilders had appeared only once in the second round, falling to Mary (N.D.), 95-76, in 2004.

Eleven different Moundbuilders made the score sheet, including six individuals in double-digits. Senior forward Zefiryn Bryan, who entered the contest averaging 8.2 points per game, tallied a team-high 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, followed by senior guard Kaitlin Tennyson’s 16 points. Tennyson added 10 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season. Sophomore forward Jana Reichenberger also had a double-double with 14 points and 10 boards.

Olivet Nazarene appeared to continue where it left off against Concordia (Neb.) in the first round, as the Tigers burst out of the gate with a 14-5 run only three-and-a-half minutes into the opening frame. Southwestern chipped away at the deficit, eventually taking a one-point, 35-34, lead on a Tennyson 3-pointer midway through the half.

However, the Moundbuilders quickly found themselves trailing again as Olivet Nazarene exploded with a 22-4 run. Southwestern’s Jessica Hobbs layup at the buzzer narrow the Olivet Nazarene lead to 59-47 at the half.

The Tigers ended the period shooting 43.5 percent from the field, including an 81.8 percent (9-for-11) success rate from beyond the arch. Southwestern shot a respectable 48.6 percent (18-for-37) in the period, but was hampered by 21 turnovers.

However, Olivet Nazarene went cold in the second half, while Southwestern continued its steady play. The Tigers, who went 2-for-20 from 3-point range in the second half, saw their lead continually fade throughout the period until a Bryan jumper in the paint tied the score at 97 with 5:02 remaining. The lead bounced back-and-forth over the course of the next four minutes with Tennyson connecting on her fourth and final 3-pointer of the game to put the contest to rest.

Overall, Southwestern shot 51.9 percent (40-for-77) from the field, including a 7-for-14 effort from beyond the arch.

The Moundbuilders, who improve to 30-4 with the win, are the first team from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference to make the quarterfinals since Sterling (Kan.) in 2005. The 30 victories are the most in program history for Southwestern.

Olivet Nazarene, which was making its first-ever appearance in the second round of the Division II national championship, ends the year with a 23-11 record.

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