SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) The first day of the 2015 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship came to a close just as it opened the competition – a hard-fought battle to the very last whistle. Wednesday’s finale provided Oklahoma Wesleyan its first victory in the national championship in team history after holding off Eastern Oregon, 60-57, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.
The Eagles (27-6) tasted victory on the national stage after dropping their first two appearances in 2013 and 2014. Nichole Tate led all scorers in the game with 21 points on 8-of-14 from the floor. The senior guard also collected nine rebounds on the night, while also dishing out six dimes and four steals.
Tate was one of three Oklahoma Wesleyan players, Patience Gitau (11) and Susan Agesen (10) to go for double-digit scoring on the night.
Neither team was able to get a lot going on the offensive end, as both squads shot less than 40 percent from the floor. Points in the paint were neck-and-neck, but the four-point separation (26-22) proved to be the difference in the margin of victory.
For fourth-seeded Eastern Oregon (26-7), the Mountaineers were led by the duo of Airashay Rogers with 15 points and seven boards to go along with Madeline Laan’s 12 points and seven rebounds.
Eastern Oregon failed to capitalize from beyond the arc all night, ending the day going 5-for-29 (17.2 percent). With the loss, the Mountaineers’ season comes to a close. They also fell to 3-6 in opening round games of the national championship with the defeat.
For the Eagles, they now fly on to the second round on Friday, where top-ranked Morningside (Iowa) will be waiting. Tip is set for 7 p.m. CDT.