Balanced Scoring Propels Rogers State to the Second Round
The NAIA postseason win is the third all-time for Rogers State and the first victory against Our Lady of the Lake in program history.
Rogers State (24-9) featured a balanced offensive attack throughout with six Hillcats scoring in double figures, including 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting by Leah Smith. Kelby Fritz and Ariani Silva poured in 12 points each, while Sierra Cornwell (11), Clarissa Cannon (11) and Adrianna Leatherbury (10) rounded out the group.
The two sides played even until about four minutes left in the first half when Smith sparked a 12-2 Hillcat run with a pair of free throws. Fritz capped the stretch with her first of two 3-pointers to give Rogers State a game-high 41-28 lead at the half.
Our Lady of the Lake cut the deficit to one, 52-51, midway through the second half on a Chelsea Solis 3-pointer, however three turnovers combined with timely shooting by Rogers State extended the advantage back to 11 points, 69-58, with 4:49 left.
The Hillcats sealed the victory on Silva's 3-pointer from the wing with a little more than three minutes on the clock.
Our Lady of the Lake, who entered the contest as the NAIA leader in scoring margin, was held under 70 points for the third time this season. The Saints shot 36.8 percent (28-of-76) from the field and was led in scoring by Nashae Owens 18 points.
Rogers State ended the game shooting 45 percent (27-of-60), including a 6-for-15 effort from beyond the arc. The Hillcats outscored Our Lady of the Lake, 19-7 at the foul line.
With the loss, Our Lady of the Lake falls to 30-4 on the season and loses to an opponent other than Wiley (Texas), who was eliminated from the championship on Tuesday by Campbellsville (Ky.), for the first time this year.