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Ozarks Withstands Initial Blow, Advances to Quarters

March 09, 2012
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By Jake Knabel, NAIA Communications & Sports Information Intern

Sioux City, Iowa – (Box Score) Hastings appeared to be in great position to claim an upset of third-ranked College of the Ozarks (Mo.) as the Broncos raced out to a 16-point early second half lead. Behind a throng of students who made the trip to Sioux City, the Lady Bobcats charged back and pulled out an anticlimactic 64-52 victory over Hastings in the second round of the State Farm-NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship.

Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year Morgan Smith willed her team to victory. She scored 28 of the team’s 64 points and managed 12 of Ozarks’ 20 field goals. With her dominant play on the interior, the Lady Bobcats out-rebounded Hastings 48-36. Smith also poured in 10 points during the Lady Bobcats’ 24-5 run that put Ozarks on top 43-40 with 9:17 left in the game. Ozarks later followed that up with a 14-4 run that put the game out of reach with 1:25 to go.

The Lady Bobcats’ aggressive offensive style resulted in 29 trips to the free throw line, where it recorded a success rate of 79.3 percent. The Broncos made only 8-of-16 free throw attempts.

Center Alicia Statler paced Hastings with 22 points and 11 rebounds on 10-for-21 shooting.

College of the Ozarks (31-3) moves on to a quarterfinal date with Eastern Oregon (25-8) on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Mountaineers pulled out an overtime upset thriller over Concordia (Mich.) earlier on Friday.