SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 4 seed Purdue Calumet (Ind.) defeats No. 5 Oregon Tech, 83-75, Wednesday evening in first round action of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm. The victory is the first-ever for the Peregrines at the national championship. Purdue Calumet will face off against No. 1 seed Davenport (Mich.) (32-1) at 3:30 p.m. CDT on Friday.
Purdue Calumet is the third team of the day to win its first-ever national championship game and the second team from the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) to reach the second round – Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) being the other. The other three CCAC teams will be in action tomorrow, starting with No. 2 Saint Xavier’s (Ill.) 8:30 a.m. tilt against No. 7 College of the Ozarks (Mo.).
Like they have all season, freshman Cassidy Deno and junior Kami Graber led the Purdue Calumet offensive attack with 26 and 20 points, respectively. Deno, who prior to the championship was named the CCAC Freshman of the Year, has scored 20-plus points in seven of her last nine games. She was one-point shy of tying her season-high effort of 27 points, set on Dec. 6 against IU South Bend (Ind.).
As a team, Purdue Calumet shot 41.4 percent (24-for-58) from the field, including a 50.0 percent (15-for-30) success rate in the second half. Arguably more impressive was the Peregrines’ performance at the free throw line. Purdue Calumet, which ended the contest shooting 72.7 percent (32-for-44), converted 20-of-29 free throws in the second half, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Purdue Calumet opened the game with a 15-4 run, however Oregon Tech answered back with a streak of its own. The Hustlin’ Owls eventually took the lead, 23-22, with 6:08 left on a McKensey Peters jumper in the paint. The lead changed six times from that point, as Oregon Tech held a 34-33 advantage at the break.
The second half, which featured six ties and nine lead changes, opened exactly how the first ended, with neither team developing more than a two possession lead until late in the period. Purdue Calumet made 8-of-10 free throws over the course of the final two minutes to seal the eight-point victory.
Oregon Tech, which finished the game shooting 41.4 percent (29-of-70) from the field as a team, was led in scoring by sophomore guard Karly Leveque’s 19 points. Another notable performance for the Hustlin’ Owls came from senior center Kassi Conditt, who tallied her 13th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
With the loss, Oregon Tech falls to 0-2 all-time at the national championship and 28-6 on the year.