SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) It wasn’t an offensive clinic, but the final result looked just fine in the eyes of third-seeded Hastings (Neb.). Despite sixth-seeded Lawrence Tech (Mich.) struggling through the entire first quarter without a basket, the Broncos found themselves in a fight to the finish. Hastings and the pesky guard Shandra Farmer are moving on after a 57-49 win in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships on Thursday.
- Head coach Jina Douglas’ program has won 36 games all-time over 18 appearances at the national championships. Head coach Kylene Spiegel’s Blue Devils (25-7) were making their second appearance on the national stage. They are still searching for their first national championships win.
- The Broncos opened the game on a 12-0 run, but their most important spurt was a 9-0 surge that started in the third quarter and spilled over into the fourth. Mackenzie Willicott poured in six points during the run that pushed a three-point lead to 12 (45-33). Lawrence Tech got as close as six points before Hastings put the game away with the help of four Farmer free throws in the final minute.
- The Blue Devils had to feel fortunate to hang with the Broncos despite missing their first 14 shots from the floor. Their first successful field goal attempt came 22 seconds into the second quarter when Cherilyn Banas drained a trey. Lawrence Tech nearly came all the way back to take the lead in the second quarter (trailed 27-26 at the 7:31 mark). The Blue Devils shot a woeful 22.4 percent (13-for-58) for the game.
- Farmer went just 5-for-15 from the floor but impacts every game in a big way on the defensive end. She collected three steals and served as a major pain for a Lawrence Tech team that turned it over 18 times. Farmer topped her team with 20 points and four assists. Willicott put up 11 points and eight rebounds.
- Nicole Buckingham totaled 18 points on 4-for-21 shooting from the floor to top the Blue Devils. She went 9-for-10 from the free throw line. As a team, Lawrence Tech canned 19-of-20 shots from the foul line.
- Hastings will take on the winner between second-seeded Marian (Ind.) and seventh-seeded St. Thomas (Fla.) in the second round at 7 p.m. on Friday.