SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) advanced to the second round for the second-straight year with a 57-37 win over No. 8 Ashford (Iowa) in the first round of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm.
With the win, the Cougars, who entered the 23rd annual event as NAIA Division II’s only unbeaten team, improved to 34-0 on the year. Saint Francis is vying to become the first team since Morningside (Iowa) in 2009 to go unbeaten en route to the national title.
Saint Francis opened the contest with a 12-2 run, capped by a Brooke Ridley jumper, and never looked back. Ashford, which was the only newcomer to this year’s event, closed the gap to four midway through the first half, however the Cougar offense proved too strong throughout the remainder of the contest, outscoring Ashford 12-7 to end the period.
The Cougars maintained a double figure lead the entire second half.
Crossroads League Player of the Year Skylarr Shurn led all scorers with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. The senior guard has now scored in double figures in 30-of-34 games this season. In addition to Shurn, Ridley and Jenelle Wilson highlighted the Saint Francis score sheet with 16 and 10 point, respectively. Ridley also had 10 rebounds to record her 10th double-double of the season.
As a team, the Cougars shot 45.7 percent (21-for-46) from the field, while holding Ashford to a 32.0 percent (16-for-50) success rate.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Nardi led Ashford with 14 points and was the only Saint in double figures.
Ashford ends its 2013-14 season with a 12-21 record.