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Blue Raiders Punch First of Eight Tickets to Quarterfinals

March 17, 2017
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BILLINGS, Mont. – (Box Score) No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) scored 32 points off of 24 Central Methodist (Mo.) turnovers to down the No. 5 Eagles, 89-72, in the first of eight second round games of the 2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo, at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

“I was proud of our effort today against a very good team,” said Lindsey Wilson Head Coach John B. Wethington. “We keep telling our team that all of these teams are good and they are going to make runs at you. You just have to stay the course and trust in one another.”

Central Methodist opened the game with a 13-4 run, highlighted by DaJonee Hale’s nine points. After a timeout, Lindsey Wilson changed defenses and applied a stingy full-court press on the Eagles. The press worked, and the Blue Raiders forced nine turnovers and went from trailing 9-2 to leading 17-16.

The Blue Raider press continued to force turnovers, which led to points and LWC to build their lead to seven to close the first half. LWC scored 19 points off of turnovers in the first half.

Lindsey Wilson opened the second half with a basket by Chanel Roberts and the Blue Raider lead was nine. Over the next three minutes, the teams traded baskets and LWC maintained at least an eight point lead.

Central Methodist’s Sophie Thompson hit a basket at the seven minute mark and that began an 11-4 Eagle run that cut the LWC lead to four, 52-48. Lindsey Wilson responded with an 8-0 run to lead 60-48. The Blue Raiders held a double-digit lead the remainder of the game.

CMU ends their season at 24-10. The Eagles were led Hale with 26 points. Lexie Moe, Hale and Jerica Nelson combined to score 56 of CMU’s 72 points.

Lindsey Wilson had three players in double figures led by Kayla Stiles with 30 points. She also had 11 rebounds for her 18th double-double season.

The Blue Raiders move into the quarterfinals for the second-straight season and will face the winner of No. 6 Montana Western and No. 2 Oklahoma City.

“We are excited for the opportunity to advance in this tournament,” add Wethington. “There are so many great teams out here and to advance to our second-straight quarterfinals is special for our program.”