BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] A two-point bucket with 27 seconds to go, and game-saving block by the same player with 11 seconds to go, kept one-seed Shawnee State (Ohio) from falling to an eight-seed in the first round for the second consecutive year. As it was, the Bears beat scrappy Grand View (Iowa) 88-82 to advance to the second round of the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Wells Fargo.
With 32 seconds to go, the score was tied at 82 all and Shawnee called a timeout with possession of the ball. The inbounds play got sophomore Bailey Cummins just enough room to get off a shot and she made the most of it, hitting the game-winning shot with 27 seconds on the clock.
Grand View had plenty of time to tie or take the lead and used a good deal of clock before Jaci Stumpf drove along the baseline towards the rim. She went in for a layup, but Cummins was right there to block the shot and her teammate Shania Massie came away with the rebound to essentially clinch the win.
Shawnee had to pull a comeback to even be in the game during the final minute. With 7:12 left in the game, it was the eighth-seeded Vikings that held a 79-69 lead. In the seven minutes that followed, the Bears showed why they enter the tournament as the number one team in the country. They went on a 12-2 run to close game and took their first lead since the second quarter with just over two minutes left.
The game was as close on paper as it was in real life, with both teams making the same number of field goals, shooting within five percent of each other in every shooting category, and finishing within 2 rebounds, turnovers, and blocks of each other.
Where Shawnee did have an advantage was in points off turnovers (18-5) and second-chance points (18-9).
The way that Grand View caused problems was with a staggeringly balanced offense. No player for GVU scored more than 16 points, while seven players score 8 points or more. That meant a 30-8 advantage for the Vikings on bench points.
All five of Shawnee’s starters scored 11 or more points, with Cummins being the lowest scorer of the five. The team’s leading scorer was Ashton Lovely with 26 points. Cummins did have an impact in other ways as well, leading the team with 7 assists.
Shawnee gets some redemption after losing in a stunning upset to William Woods (Mo.) in the first round of the 2017 tournament. Next, the Bears will play four-seed Wayland Baptist (Texas) on Friday, March 26 at 8:00 p.m.