Benedictine Survives Overtime Thriller

Benedictine Survives Overtime Thriller
By Scott Barker, NAIA Communications and Sports Information Intern

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score | Bracket) Game three of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship saw No. 5-seed Benedictine (Kan.) (27-6) knock off No. 4 Montana State-Northern (23-9), 55-53, in an overtime thriller.

“It took us a little while to get settled in I thought, missing some shots and they were scoring pretty good hitting their shots. Things changed when we went to the press and that kind of helped get the pace of the game up more where we wanted it,” said Benedictine head coach Chad Folsom “Our defense was a key. We’ve always believed that defense wins championships and tonight it was our defense. It was two good defenses going at each other and ultimately we were lucky enough to be one basket ahead. The girls that were all out on the floor at the end, were all girls that played in the tournament last year, so that was a big factor for us. They’ve got the experience of being here and they showed it with their confidence and composure out on the court.”

Montana State-Northern jumped out to a quick seven point lead (10-3) by hitting four of its first ten shots. Natalee Faupel scored a 2-point field goal to push the Skylights lead to a quarter-high 11 points, 19-8, with 1:38 remaining in the first frame.

The Ravens answered back with a 19-4 run from 1:24 left of the first quarter to 59 seconds left in the second quarter to take a 27-23 lead. In total, Benedictine outscored Montana State-Northern 20-7 in the second quarter. The four-point lead was the halftime difference – 30-26 in favor of Benedictine.

In the third quarter, both teams went back-and-forth as the Ravens were able to extend their lead to nine, but the Skylights cut the lead back to 39-35 on a Sierra Richards basket. Benedictine ended the quarter on a 7-3 run to take an eight-point advantage, 44-36, into the final period.

With the Ravens up by nine (46-37) in the final quarter, Montana State-Northern went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 46 with 5:03 remaining in the game. Both teams traded a basket to end regulation tied at 48.

In overtime, the Ravens shot out to a three-point lead after a Lexie Villegas put back. The Skylights answered with a Cydney Auzenne 3-pointer on their next possession to tie the game at 51 with 3:07 left.

On the next Ravens possession, LaRanda Thomas was able to convert an old fashioned 3-point play to give Benedictine the lead at 54-51 with 2:13 left. The Ravens held on to the lead and knock off Montana State-Northern 55-53.

The Ravens, who are making their third championship appearance, move to 3-0 in first round games. They were led in scoring by Chayla Rutledge, who scored a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Rutledge was now scored 18-or-more points 13 times this season. This was the first overtime game for Benedictine this season. The Ravens are now 6-0 following a loss on the year.

Montana State-Northern was led in scoring by Faupel, who poured in 16 points. Cydney Auzenne added 14 points and Sierra Richards added 13 rebounds. This was the 13th appearance for the Skylights. Prior to the loss, Montana State-Northern had won six-straight first round games.

Benedictine moves into the second round and will face either No. 1-seed Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) or No. 8-seed William Woods (Mo.) on Friday at 10:45 a.m. CDT.

Championship Information

NAIA DI Women's Basketball Championship

March 18-24, 2020
Billings, Mont.