Benedictine Pulls Out Close Game and Heads to the Fab Four
By Scott Barker, Communications and Sports Information Intern
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score | Bracket) In the first-ever meeting between the two schools, Benedictine (Kan.) used a strong first half to upend No. 2-seed Campbellsville (Ky.), 45-36, in the quarterfinals of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“Really proud of these girls, they’ve worked so hard this whole season,” said Benedictine head coach Chad Folsom. “They’ve had this goal of trying to get to the Fab Four and for them to achieve it is great. We’ve played some great basketball the last three games. I’m so proud of their hard work. Our defense gave us another opportunity to win a game. We held them down and really guarded. That has been a key all along. We played great defense and worked together as a team.”
Benedictine shot 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from field en route to a 27-17 halftime lead. Serena Parker scored two of her four total points on jumper to give the Ravens a first quarter-high seven point lead, 15-8.
The second quarter proved to be a defensive battle, as neither team scored in the first 3:09 of the frame. A pair of free throws by Benedictine’s Kristen Murphy ended the drought and gave the Ravens the 17-10 advantage. The Ravens, who has outscored its opponents 40-17 in the second quarter through two games in the championship, outscored the Lady Tigers by four, 11-7, in a low scoring quarter.
Campbellsville came out strong in the third quarter, as it used a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 32-30. Benedictine connected on a pair of free throws with 1:17 left to give them the 34-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Benedictine scored only seven points, due in large part to seven turnovers, in the third period.
In the fourth quarter, Campbellsville’s Lindsey Burd – the Co-Mid-South Player of the Year – drained a pair of free throws to get the Lady Tigers to within one. However, they were never able to tie the game or take the lead.
The Lady Tigers were led in scoring by Burd, who averaged 20.5 points and 11 rebounds at the national championship, with a team-high 16 points and seven boards. Emily Fox added 11 points. Burd and Fox combined for 27 of Campbellsville’s 36 points.
Campbellsville, making its seventh appearance in the quarterfinals since 2000 (1-6), shot just 5 percent (1-of-17) from beyond the arc for the game. The Lady Tigers had shot 35.0 percent from distance in their previous two games.
Benedictine, appearing in its first-ever quarterfinals as a Division I school, shot 40.9 percent in the first half, compared to only 20.8 percent in the second half. Kristen Murphy – entered the national championship averaging 9.5 points and 5.9 rebounds – is averaging 15.3 points, nine rebounds and 3.0 steals through three games at the national championship. Murphy recorded her third double-double of the season (all in the national championship) with 15 points and 10 boards.
Jordan Kramer paced the Ravens with 16 points.
“This team wants it badly,” said Folsom. “The Campbellsville team that we played tonight wanted it too. There was a lot of loose balls in the game and one of our goals was to get the most and both teams were fighting all game long. I liked the way fought and didn’t back down and kept fighting.
Chayla Rutledge, teams leading scorer entering the championship, was held under 10 points for the second-straight game. This marks just the second-straight time that she has been held under double-digits in back-to-back games.
The two teams combined for 81 total points, which is only six points more than the championship record for fewest combined points – 75, set by Westmont (Calif.) and former-member Westminster (Utah) in 2013.
Benedictine advances to the semifinals and will take on the winner No. 6-seed Baker (Kan.) and No. 4-seed Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) on Monday at 6 p.m. CDT.