BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] A giant has fallen at the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Wells Fargo. The defending and nine-time NAIA National Champion two-seed Oklahoma City was taken down by the seven-seed Providence (Mont.) 81-76.
With 8.8 seconds on the game clock and 3 seconds on the shot clock, UP led by 2 points and was inbounding from their own baseline. Right as it seemed like a five-second violation might be called, senior guard Stephanie McDonagh found freshman point guard Emilee Maldonado open in the short corner on the opposite side and she drained it to make the unlikely upset a reality.
The upset dream was alive all game but went from a hope to a probability during a 10-0 Argo run that spanned the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. When the run began with less than a minute to go in the third, OCU led 63-59. By the time it ended, there was 8:36 left in the game and UP was ahead by 6 points.
Maldonado was also key in that run with a spectacular sequence with under nine minutes in the fourth. The freshman started with a made three that put UP ahead 67-63, and while the rest of the Argo defense dropped, she broke on the inbound pass. She tipped the ball loose, gathered it and hit a reverse layup with two Stars defenders right on her to bring the score to 69-63. UP never trailed after that.
Daniela Galindo was simply unstoppable on offense for three quarters, scoring 23 points in the first half alone, and added another 14 points in the third quarter.
Helping to keep up with Galindo for most of the game was UP’s shooting guard Jenna Randich who had the best shooting night from three of her career. The sophomore made a career-high 5 threes and was the biggest contributor to UP’s 12 total threes, the most the team has made in a game all year. She finished 19 points, while Maldonado and McDonagh each had 16.
UP moves beyond the first round of the national tournament for the third time in three NAIA tournament appearances. The team has made the quarterfinals in each of its previous two trips. The Argos will next play MidAmerican Nazarene (Kan.) on Friday, March 26 at 6:15 p.m.