BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] Third-seeded MidAmerican Nazarene (Kan.) held off sixth-seeded Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) for an 82-72 victory in a first-round game of the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Wells Fargo.
In the game’s opening minutes, neither team could gain much advantage. Baskets and leads were exchanged until the two-minute mark of the quarter. MNU went on a 7-0 run and led 20-12 at the end of the quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Lynx of Lindenwood put their own 7-0 run together and chipped the Pioneer lead to one, 21-22. That momentum burst led Lindenwood to a 39-35 halftime lead. The Lynx hit 54 percent of their first-half field goals and held MNU to 34 percent shooting. The scored was tied three times with six lead changes.
The Pioneers took the lead back on a 3-point field goal by Alisha Washington at the 8:09 mark of the third quarter. Once again the teams traded buckets before Lindenwood emerged with their
final lead of the game with 4:56 left in the third with a free throw from Tiara Bramlett. MidAmerican Nazarene closed the third quarter on a 12-6 run.
The Pioneers maintained their lead throughout the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t easy. Just when MNU looked to have a comfortable lead, the Lynx came roaring back.
Lindenwood cut the MNU lead down to one, 68-69 with 3:14 left in the game. The Pioneers then went on a game-ending 14-3 run. The run was fueled by a great defense which included back to back steals that led to MNU baskets.
Lindenwood is making their second straight appearance in the national tournament but is still winless. The Lynx close their season at 22-9. Five players scored in double figures for Lindenwood led by Heather Waldemar with 17 points.
This is MidAmerican Nazarene’s seventh appearance at the national tournament with an 8-5 record including the 2016 national championship. The Pioneers were led by Alisha Washington with a career-high and season-high 33 points. Jovovic also finished in double digits with 22 points.
The Pioneers next play Friday at 6:15 p.m. against the winner of the University of Providence-Oklahoma City first-round game