SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) The first game of Thursday’s action of the 2015 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship saw the Jimmies of Jamestown (N.D.) storm out of the gate and never look back in a 69-62 win over St. Thomas (Fla.) inside the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City.
A quick 10-0 run to begin the contest set the tone for the Jimmies as the third-seeded North Star tournament champion grabbed the lead for good within the first couple minutes. St. Thomas was able to get back within 35-31 at halftime, but was unable to get the tilt tied at any point.
Leading the way for Jamestown was a trio of players in double-figures, led by Bryn Woodside with 16 points. The freshman from Albert Lea, Minn., was joined by Jessica Buck (15) and Kaeli Kraska (11). Woodside was a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe, and in total, the team was 19-of-23 (82.6 percent) on free throw attempts.
In the defeat, the Bobcats followed the lead of Antishia Wright, who gathered 17 points and five rebounds. Teammate Claudia Martin added 10 points and six boards.
It was not all gloom this morning for St. Thomas, as honorary Bobcat, Madison Smith, cheered on the team from the bench. Smith is a an eight-year-old girl from Pembroke Pines, Fla., who was diagnosed with a relatively unknown genetic neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) on October 2, 2007, two days shy of her first birthday.
Smith has been with the team all season long, inspiring players and coaches alike. Despite the loss on Thursday, the sight of the up-beat Smith will certainly bring a smile to all as the team wraps up a 27-5 season.
For Jamestown (25-6), the team has now won five-consecution national championship opening round games. The Jimmies now look ahead to Friday’s matchup at Noon CDT with either No. 2 Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) or No. 7 Asbury (Ky.).