Freed-Hardeman, Oklahoma City advance to semifinals

BY NATE PARSONS Published:

One top-seeded team is moving on while another is going home.

No. 1 Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) rolled past No. 7 Bethel College (Tenn.) 66-48 in the first quarterfinal, while No. 2 Oklahoma City University knocked off No. 1 Campbellsville University (Ky.) 79-76 in the second quarterfinal of the 34th annual NAIA Division I Women’s National Championship Saturday at the Frankfort Convention Center.

The Lady Lions (35-1) advance to the Fab Four for the second-straight year and will play No. 3 Wiley College — a 75-58 winner over top-seeded Westminster College (Utah) Saturday night — Monday at 8 p.m. The Stars (25-4) move on to the Fab Four for the first time since winning it all in 2012 and will take on No. 5 John Brown University (Ark.) —  a      65-63 winner over No. 7 Loyola University New Orleans (La.) in the last game Saturday night — Monday at 6 p.m.

FREED-HARDEMAN 66, BETHEL 48

Juniors Grace Alonso de Armino and Hayley Newby both recorded double-doubles to help Freed-Hardeman extend its school-record win total by beating Bethel (23-11) for the third time this season.

“Every game it doesn’t matter what your ranking is,” said Freed-Hardeman coach Dale Neal, whose team has won 11 straight. “We all know that when you get to this point all these teams are good and you have to play well or you end up going home. We feel good about still being here.”

Alonso de Armino had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Newby added 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Lady Lions. Freshman Taleeah Cross scored 14 points and senior Cynthia Woodward had 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

“Hayley and Grace played really well together,” Neal said. “Grace has got so many weapons and she’s a hard matchup for a lot of people. … And you just know what you’re going to get from Hayley every night. She’s a workhorse.”

Freed-Hardeman led by 14 at the half, but Bethel went on an 8-0 spurt to start the second half and cut the lead to 34-28.

The Lady Lions answered with a 15-5 run to push the margin back to double digits and cruised from there, leading by as many as 24.

“For us to lose this game we felt like we would have to play a pretty poor game and they would have to play pretty well,” Neal said.

Junior Tayla Foster had 17 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore Jackliann Street finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Wildcats, who shot 25 percent. Senior Porsha Harris added 12 points and 14 rebounds.

OKLA. CITY 79, CAMPBELLSVILLE 76

Senior Cara Pugh came off the bench and made four 3-pointers on her way to scoring 27 points — 21 in the first half — as Oklahoma City won its ninth-straight game after holding on against Campbellsville (32-4).

“This was such a great game,” Oklahoma City coach Latricia Trammell said. “It went back and forth to a very good team. I’m just so proud of our young ladies and just their fight.”

A putback by junior Ouleymatou Coulibaly gave the Stars a 77-74 lead with a minute left. Sophomore Kristen Jacob answered with a pair of free throws to pull the Lady Tigers within 77-76 with 32.6 seconds remaining.

Senior Kayla MacKenzie then hit the first of two foul shots to give Oklahoma City a 78-76 lead with 25.6 seconds left, and after Campbellsville turned it over, she made the second of two free throws with 7.1 seconds to go.

The Lady Tigers had one last chance, as senior Katie Allen got an open look from beyond the arc. But the ball clanked off the rim as time expired.

“We score when we need to, we get stops when we need to,” Trammell said. “It was an ugly win, but I’ll take it.”

Junior Yvonte Neal had 19 points — including five 3s — before fouling out for the Stars. Senior Kayla MacKenzie finished with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while senior Autumn Huffman added 10 points and 11 rebounds. Pugh also had seven rebounds.

“It was just a good team effort. It’s just an amazing experience to see them be so successful,” said Trammell, whose team shot 52 percent.

Senior Ellen Sholtes had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lady Tigers. Allen and junior Caroline Owen each made three 3-pointers to finish with 13 points apiece and junior Daizah Kimberland added 11 points and seven rebounds.

“You have to give it to Campbellsville — they’re a good team with good players and I wish them the best,” Trammell said.

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