Freed-Hardeman Cruises into the Second Round
The Lady Lions opened the game on a 5-0 run and led by as many as 10 points, 16-6, before Courtney Sturdivant and Amy Gardner combined for a 6-0 run for the Golden Bears. Sturdivant later hit a 3 with 8:35 remaining in the first half to pull within a three, 20-17. However, Tech's threat was short lived as Freed-Hardeman scored 16 straight and closed the first half on a 25-6 run to lead 45-23 at the break.
Natalie Shumpert, who eclipsed 2,000 career points in the contest, led Freed-Hardeman's charge in the first half with 14 of game-leading 16 points. The Lady Lions shot 59.4 percent (19-of-32) in the first half, including 5-of-8 (.625) from the 3-point arc. The Lady Lions finished the game shooting 49.3 percent from the floor and 43.8 from the arc.
A 20-point lead quickly became 30 points, 59-29, with 13:38 remaining in the second half. Freed-Hardeman's largest lead of the night was 34 points, 74-40, after Hayley Newby used an assist from Brittany Montgomery with 5:18 to play, until Montgomery sank a late free throw to make it 36 points, 80-44.
Sturdivant finished as the Golden Bears' leading scorer with 15 points, including nine points in the first half. WVU Tech was held to 25.9 percent shooting from the floor and 3-of-25 (.120) from the 3-point arc.
For Freed-Hardeman, three others followed Shumpert's lead: Grace Alonso de Armino (15), Cynthia Woodward (12) and Hayley Newby (10). Newby was the closest to a double-double, grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. The Lady Lions worked 13 players into the game, collecting 29 points from its bench.
The game was WVU Tech's first in the NAIA national championships since winning the Mid-South Conference Tournament in 2007. The Golden Bears also ran into a No. 1 seed, St. Xavier University (Ill.), in the first round that season.
WVU Tech finishes the season with a 17-14 record.