Freed-Hardeman Advances to Quarterfinals
The top-ranked Lions will meet Vanguard (Calif.) in the 6 p.m. EDT quarterfinal Saturday. It will be the first national tournament meeting between the two NAIA powerhouses who boast a combined 32 tournament appearances.
FHU dominated the glass, out rebounding the Lady Tigers, by 24, 44-20, including 19 offensive boards. Natalie Shumpert expanded her 2,000-plus point career with a 21-point performance and four steals. Maria Bagwell followed with a double-double 16 points and 10 points, while Ashley Tate chipped in 13 points and seven assists.
Both teams took a few minutes to get going Thursday night, but five early points by Shumpert helped set the tone for a 10-point first half for the senior. She led the Lions to a nine-point lead, 18-9, with 9:39 to play in the opening half. Campbellsville slowly chipped away in the first half, cutting the margin to three, 30-27, on Katie Allen's second 3-pointer of the game with 2:17 to play. Senior Mrashi Karumba, a transfer from Freed-Hardeman's rival Union University, later drained a game-tying 3 with 31 seconds left, to make the score, 30-30, entering halftime.
Campbellsville freshman starter Lindsey Burd gave the Lady Tigers their first lead of the game to open the second half after a FHU turnover and steal by Mackenzie Lee. Lee followed with a 3-pointer to put Campbellsville up five, 35-30. While momentum appeared to be in favor of the in-state team, five points proved to be the large CU lead of the night.
The lead swapped hands four times early in the second half before Freed-Hardeman streaked ahead on a 13-0 run. The Lady Tigers went cold from the field, missing three shots and tuning the ball over three times as Freed rallied. Tate banked in a 3-point shot from the wing as the shot clock expired with 10:46 to play. The basket made it a 10-point game, 52-42, and was the breaking point. Tate followed with a second 3 from the right corner, across from FHU's bench.
Ellen Sholtes ended the run with a basket, but Freed only strung together another one. This time it was a 9-0 burst to lead by 20 points, 64-44, with 4:50 to play. The Lions coasted the rest of the way.
Freed-Hardeman leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 47.2 points per game. CU's offensive production was its second lowest of the season, second only to a 49 point total against Cumberland (Tenn.) in the same building two weeks during the Mid-South Conference championship game.
Karumba was the only Lady Tiger to score in double figures with 11 points, eight in the first half. Lee followed with nine, while senior 3-point shooter Courtney Clifton was held to seven points. Allen finished with six points and six assists.
Campbellsville finishes its season with a 25-10 record with its 21st appearance in the national tournament.