“I’m extremely proud of everyone that has played a part in this,” said William Woods Head Coach Dan Chapla. “This team never quit. The just kept scraping and finally got a little momentum in the fourth quarter. I just couldn’t be more proud of a young group of women.”
John Brown jumped out to a 14-0 lead. It took the Owls nearly four minutes before they scored their first basket when Kennedy Volkart hit a 15-foot jumper.
William Woods slowly clawed their way back into the game, as it cut the Golden Eagles’ lead down to four with 14 seconds left in the first quarter off a Bailey Rollins 3-pointer.
The Owls stayed close in the opening minutes of the second quarter, but then their offense went ice cold and JBU took advantage and began to pull away. Neither team could find a basket in the second quarter’s last two minutes. The Golden Eagles led at the half time break, 38-29.
John Brown opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run and a 47-29 lead. The Owls answered with two free throws from Volkart and a layup from Peyton Greenlee. WWU used the quarter to chip away at the Golden Eagle lead. Greenlee closed the third quarter with two baskets and JBU lead was down to eight.
William Woods opened the fourth quarter with a 12-2 run capped by two free throws from Kaycee Gerald that tied the game at 54. The Owls took their first lead 56-54, on a basket by Bailey Rollins with 6:18 left in regulation.
“I just told them to keep focused,” said Chapla. “I thought we were trying to do things a little too quickly.”
The two teams traded baskets and leads over the next couple of possessions. JBU’s Bailey Cameron hit a 3-pointer to give the Golden Eagles a 61-58 advantage. The Owls quickly answered with a Greenlee long distance field goal and the game was tied again.
WWU’s Bailey Rollins forced a steal and after a time out, the Owls play set Scherder up for what become her game winning 3-point basket with 17 seconds remaining.
“I’ve had All-Americans, I’ve had better players, but I’ve never had a better clutch player than Kelsey Scherder,” added Chapla. “That last play was designed specifically for her and she stepped up to the plate and knocked it down.”
JBU coach Jeff Soderquist called timeout. After the timeout, the Golden Eagles ran their play, but the Owls’ defense forced a long outside shot that fell short.
Cameron led JBU with 21 points and six rebounds. John Brown was making their fifth appearance in the championship and their second time in the second round. The Golden Eagles’ season ends at 23-9.
William Woods becomes the second eighth seed to advance to the quarterfinals in the modern seeding system. The other was Science & Arts (Okla.) in 2003, which advanced to the semifinal round.
Scherder led the Owls with 19 points and Greenlee scored 17. William Woods is now 22-11 and will face the winner of the No. 2 Vanguard and No. 3 Montana State-Northern second round game tomorrow at 8 p.m. MDT.