Vanguard Cruises Past William Woods, 85-60
With the win, Vanguard (25-3) improves to 9-0 all-time in the national championship second round. The Lions await the winner of top-ranked Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and Campbellsville (Ky.) in the 6 p.m. EDT quarterfinal game on Saturday.
Vanguard dominated a majority of the first half, aided in large part by seven 3-pointers. The Lions opened the game with a 14-4 run, capped by a Nicole Ballestero three. Back-to-back baskets, including an old fashioned 3-point play, by William Woods' Pricila Santos cut the deficit back to 14-9. The Lions opened the gap with a barrage of 3-point baskets to make it 42-21 with 2:49 left in the period. The Owls' Stephanie Copelin's jumper two minutes later made it 42-29, however a pair of Alison Drennan free throws with three seconds left gave Vanguard a 44-29 lead at the half.
The momentum continued into the second half with Vanguard stretching its lead to a game-high 31 points, 71-40, with 10:14 left in the game. Williams Woods pulled as close as 25 points three times throughout the remainder of the period, however each time Vanguard answered.
Vanguard finished the game shooting 51.6 percent (16-of-33) from the field, including 12 3-pointers - three shy of tying the championship record set by former-NAIA member Union (Tenn.) in 2010. Ballestero led four Lions in double figures with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Chelsea Alfafara, who led the squad with five 3-pointers, was second in line with 17 points, Ballestero, Alfafara and Alison Drennan were tied with a game-high six assists, while Maree Drennan led the way with nine rebounds.
Santos came off the bench for William Woods to score a team-high 25 points. Overall, the Owls shot 46.2 percent (24-of-52) from the floor.
William Woods, who was one-of-three six seeds to advance into the second round, ends its season with a 26-7 record.