SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) Tenth-ranked Southern Oregon dropped in the first bucket of the game and never trailed on the way to a dominant 96-61 victory over No. 21 Robert Morris (Ill.) in the opening round of the 2015 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm, on Wednesday morning.
Head coach Lynn Kennedy’s Raiders moved to 27-4 overall while Robert Morris, an at-large qualifier out of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, concluded its 2014-15 campaign with a mark of 21-7.
Southern Oregon followed the lead of 6-foot-2 junior post Carly Meister, who was nearly unstoppable in the paint. She finished with a game high 25 points while making 11 of 15 shots from the field to go along with nine rebounds. Meister piled up 12 points in the first half to help the Raiders build a 41-29 lead at the break.
Meister and company then ran away with it in the second half. Southern Oregon outscored the Eagles 55-32 over the final 20 minutes of the blowout victory. Robert Morris had no answer for the Raider frontcourt, which paved the way for a 62-26 advantage in points in the paint and a 57-40 edge on the boards.
Five Raiders joined Meister in double figures in scoring: Ashley Claussen (13), Alexi Smith (12), Courtney West (12), Autumn Durand (10) and Kristen Schoenherr (10). Smith chipped in eight rebounds as part of a formidable inside tandem along with Meister. As a team, Southern Oregon shot 47.6 percent compared to a 30.3 percent clip for the Eagles.
Head coach John Natanek’s Robert Morris squad got 13 points and seven rebounds from senior forward Yolanda De La Torre. Leading scorer Dana Gettis (16.5 ppg) did not play. The 35-point margin of defeat was the second largest of the season for the Eagles, who fell by a 107-63 score to No. 4 Saint Xavier (Ill.) on Feb. 11.
Southern Oregon advances to the second round for the first time since 1999. The Eagles, who had lost their previous four first-round contests at the national tournament, will play Tabor (Kan.) (20-12) at 8:30 a.m. CDT on Friday in the second round.