BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] Every time seven-seed Benedictine (Kan.) looked poised to take control of the game, Celina Pagan of six-seed Menlo (Calif.) was there to answer. The senior guard scored 28 points as Menlo, in the program’s first national tournament appearance, moves on to the quarterfinals of the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Wells Fargo with an 88-77 win.
If not for Pagan, Benedictine’s freshman point guard Brynn Maul may have become the star of the tournament. After setting a career high with 16 points in the team’s round one win, the freshman scored 31 points, including solo 10-0 run in the fourth quarter that pulled the Ravens within 3 points.
That run included a ridiculous off-balance three while being fouled that went down to complete set up a 4-point play. Maul ended the day shooting 7-10 from three, also a career high.
Pagan essentially matched Maul shot-for-shot, with 28 points of her own on 6-9 shooting. A handful of those threes were part of answering runs for Menlo that kept Benedictine from capitalizing on Maul’s shooting.
In the middle of the third quarter, Maul hit back-to-back threes to give the Ravens a 44-42 lead. The Oaks answered with a 7-0 run, capped with a long two from Pagan. Then in the fourth, Maul’s 10-0 run was extended to 12-0 and suddenly the margin was down to 1 point. Once again Menlo responded this time with a 10-0 run to close the game including 7 points from Pagan.
While Pagan and Maul canceled each other out, it was Menlo’s dominance in the post that separated the two teams. The Oaks outscored the Ravens 38-26 in the paint and forwards Madison Michelis, Aliyah Brantley, and Destinee Bowie combined to score 40 points.