“I felt like we had a really great start to the game,” said Central Methodist head coach Mike Davis. “I thought our kids fought very hard. To get behind like that at the end, but battle back showed a lot of character.”
Central Methodist opened tournament play red-hot, outscoring Biola 16-6 in the opening quarter.
Biola found its offense in the second quarter, led by senior guard Annie Park’s seven points. The Eagles of Biola outscored the Eagles of Central Methodist, 22-15, and trailed 31-28 at the half.
In the third quarter, Central Methodist used a combination of hot 3-point shooting and stingy defense – aided by a cold-shooting Biola team – to build a 46-36 lead.
Biola regained their 3-point shooting form in the fourth quarter and went on a 13-1 run. At the 2:08 mark of the quarter, Sara Dougan’s layup gave the Eagles their first lead of the game, 49-47.
One possession later, a free throw by CMU’s Jerica Nelson trimmed Biola’s lead to one, 49-48.
Neither team could score on two consecutive possessions. With 18.6 seconds left in the game, Central Methodists’ DaJonee Hale hit a floater that gave CMU a 50-49 lead and that basket proved to be the game winner.
Biola’s last possession was stymied by a great CMU defensive stand which resulted in a missed Biola layup. Hale was fouled getting the defensive rebound and closed CMU’s scoring and the game with two free throws.
Balanced scoring highlighted the CMU win with Hale the only player to score in double figures with 13. The Eagles hit 7-of-17 from 3-point land compared to only 5-of-30 for Biola.
Biola was led by Park with 12 points. Biola ends their season at 23-8.
Central Methodist is now 24-9 and will face No. 1 Lindsey Wilson Friday morning at 9 a.m. MDT in the second round.