BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] Two-seed Vanguard (Calif.) held three-seed Carroll (Mont.) without a field goal for almost 11 minutes and went on a 17-2 through the first nine minutes of the fourth quarter on the way to a 63-55 win. The Lions claim the last spot in the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Wells Fargo.
At the end of the third quarter, the Fighting Saints held a three-point lead in a game that had been close all night. Over the course of the next nine minutes and 20 seconds, Carroll made two free throws and nothing else.
That allowed Vanguard to go on a 17-2 run that turned a nail-biter into a game that was decided minutes before the final buzzer.
The Saints were poised to go into the locker room at the half with a 12 point lead after winning the second quarter 22-7, but a desperation heave at the buzzer from beyond half court went through for Vanguard, making the halftime score 36-27.
Vanguard’s point guard Victoria Chea was calm and controlled throughout, including successfully dribbling through pressure late in the game to help the Lions run down the clock. She finished two assists shy of a double-double with 14 points and eight assists.
She was one of four players in the game to score 14. One was her teammate, Amber Alexander who also flirted with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and nine assists.
The other two were Carroll guards Bailey Pasta and Jaidyn Lyman. All of Pasta’s 14 points came in the first half when she hit four-of-seven from three. Lyman was also at her best in the first 20 minutes, scoring 10 of her 14 in the first two quarters.
Vanguard moves on to the quarterfinals for the second straight year. They made the semifinals in 2017 where they lost to Lewis-Clark State (Idaho). In the 2018 quarterfinals, they will face four-seed Wayland Baptist (Texas) who just upset the top ranked team in the country.