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Lindsey Wilson Downs Martin Methodist in Championship Opener

March 15, 2017
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BILLINGS, Mont. – (Box ScoreTop-seeded Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in the Cramer Bracket improved their national tournament record to 6-12 after a 63-52 opening round victory over eighth-seeded Martin Methodist (Tenn.) in the first game of the 2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Wells Fargo.

“I was really pleased with our defense today,” said Lindsey Wilson head coach John B. Wethington. “I thought we were active and defended the interior particularly well. Our defense is the reason we are advancing in this tournament.”

Both teams were icy cold in the first half with neither able to gain control. Lindsey’s Wilson’s Courtney Sandlin hit a jumper at the 3:02 mark of the first quarter that a broke a 7-7 tie and began a LWC 15-5 run that extended into the third quarter. J’Nayah Hall’s jumper gave the Blue Raiders a 30-16 lead, the largest lead by either team. Lindsey Wilson led 30-20 at the half.

Three minutes into the third quarter, two 3-point baskets by Martin Methodist’s Brooklyn Blanchard followed by a two-pointer by Teairra Luckett cut the Blue Raiders lead to four, but that was as close as the RedHawks would get.

Early in the fourth quarter, Hall hit another jumper that started another 15-5 LWC run and that run put the game out of reach for Martin Methodist.

Kyla Styles led the Blue Raider with 21 points and 12 rebounds her 17nd double-double in 33 games this season. Hall was the only other LWC player to score in double figures with 18. The Blue Raiders outrebounded Martin Methodist, 48-34.

“Our depth was critical today. J’Nayah Hall and Courtney Sandlin really played well on both ends of the court,” said Wethington. “They provided a spark and really energized us when we needed it most.”

Three players scored in double figures for the RedHawks, led by Brooklyn Blanchard with 16, Luckett with 14 and Jemia Carpenter with 11.

Lindsey Wilson advances to the second round for a second-straight season. The Blue Raiders, who will play the winner of No. 4 Biola (Calif.) and No. 5 Central Methodist (Mo.) at 9 a.m. MDT on Friday, are now 31-2 on the year.

Martin Methodist, which entered the event looking for its first-ever national championship victory, is eliminated from the event and drops to 21-11 on the year.