Saint Xavier led 9-2 just three minutes in against Campbellsville University Thursday.
It’s hard to say the Cougars won the game at the start, but they were well on their way to a 75-57 victory in the first round of the NAIA Div. I Women’s Basketball National Championship at the Frankfort Convention Center.
“I thought the big key was getting off to a quick start,” Saint Xavier coach Bob Hallberg said. “When you’re able to go ahead 9-0, 6-0, that doesn’t always happen.
“When you get down here you don’t know a lot about the other teams, and if you get off to a quick start the other team thinks ‘This is a good team. We have a game on our hands.’
“If you miss your first few shots they start to relax and think this is an easy game,” he added. “It’s not like watching teams on TV. You have to feel each other out, and a quick start really helps.”
Once in front the Cougars kept rolling, building a 24-9 lead with 11:25 left in the first half.
A layup by Chelsea Craig and a 3-pointer from Mackenzie Lee pulled Campbellsville within 10 points at 24-14.
The Tigers (20-13) had the lead down to eight points three times, once at 35-27 with 1:20 left in the first half.
Saint Xavier’s Mary Kusner scored just before the half to give the Cougars a 37-27 lead.
A basket by Campbellsville’s Mary Jehlik had the lead down to eight points for the last time, at 41-33 with 16:41 left in the game.
The Cougars took off again, going on a 12-0 run for a 53-33 lead with 13:32 left in the game.
Their largest lead was 30, 69-39, with 7:18 remaining.
Campbellsville shot just 25 percent for the game while Saint Xavier (24-8) hit 55 percent of its shots. The Tigers held a 51-36 rebounding advantage.
“I thought we did a real nice job on defense,” Hallberg said. “We knew what their shooters are capable of, and we concentrated on their shooters.”
CU’s top shooter, Courtney Clifton, went 6 for 18 from the field and scored a game-high 19 points. Daizah Kimberland was also in double figures with 10 points, and Franklin County graduate Chelsea Craig had four points and six rebounds.
Saint Xavier (Ill.) had four players in double figures, led by Marissa Young with 16 points. Morgan Stuut had 15 points, and Suzie Broski and Kusner both finished with 14. Brittany Jones was the game’s top rebounder with nine.
The Cougars play Westmont today at 12:30 p.m. in the second round.
Lewis-Clark State 74, Loyola 63
Trailing by two at halftime, Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) cranked up the offense in the second half to win Thursday’s second game.
The Warriors (29-4) shot 66.7 percent in the second half and 56.6 percent for the game.
The game was tied at 43-43 with 16:45 left in the game, but Lewis-Clark State pulled away in the last 10 minutes.
Loyola (La.) struggled from the field, hitting just 29.4 percent for the game.
Tasha Bishop was Lewis-Clark State’s top scorer with 23 points and one of four Warriors in double figures.
Jasmine Stohr finished with 19 points, and Kirsi Voshell had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Alyssa Fierro chipped in 10 points.
Loyola’s Keiva Council led all players with 34 points and was the only member of the Wolfpack in double figures. Teammate Jasmine Brewer had 10 rebounds. LCS outrebounded Loyola (23-6) 41-33.
Lewis-Clark State plays Lubbock Christian today at 2:15 p.m. in the second round.
Westmont 59, Lyon 57
Lyon (Ark.) rallied late but came up just short against Westmont (Calif.) in Thursday’s third game.
Westmont (30-3) led 23-18 at halftime and was ahead by 11, 57-46, with 3:24 left in the game.
The Scots went on an 8-0 run, pulling within three points at 57-54 with eightseconds left. The run ended with a 3-pointer by Phagen Altom.
Aubrey Lincoln went 1 for 2 from the line for the Warriors, making the score 58-54 with seven seconds left.
Another 3 by Altom cut Westmont’s lead to one, 58-57, with one second remaining.
Westmont’s Aubrey Lincoln was immediately fouled and made one of two free throws for a final score of 59-57.
Lyon (20-12) shot 39.6 percent from the field with two players in double figures – Altom with 23 points and Lauren Ramsey with 10.
The Warriors were led in scoring Tugce Canitez with 19 points, followed by Katie Kittle with 18 points and Lincoln with 11.
Canitez also had 17 rebounds as Westmont held a 49-34 advantage on the boards.
Lubbock Christian 79, LSU Shreveport 55
Lubbock Christian (26-5) took the lead late in the first half, extended it to 11 points at halftime and went on to beat LSU Shreveport in the final game of the first session Thursday.
The Lady Chaparrals of Texas closed the first half with an 11-0 run to lead 35-24 at the break.
They continued that momentum in the second half, and their largest lead was 79-49 with 3:14 left in the game.
Lubbock Christian shot 44 percent for the game with four players in double figures.
Kelsey Canavan had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Brittany Roberts had a double-double with a game-high 22 points and 12 assists. Emily Atkins finished with 16 points and April Ehlers with 14.
Jenna Diakos led LSU Shreveport (25-9) with 15 points. Meoshi Bradley scored 12 and Sharde Henry chipped in 11 for the Lady Pilots, who shot 35 percent.
The Lady Chaparrals outrebounded LSU Shreveport 44-33.