Lindsey Wilson Advances Past Top-seeded Westmont
With the victory, the Blue Raiders improve to 28-6 and become the fourth team at this year’s championship to punch their first-ever ticket into the quarterfinals. Lindsey Wilson, which is making its 11th all-time appearance at the national championship, was 0-3 all-time in second round games entering tonight’s matchup with Westmont.
Lindsey Wilson advances to play the winner of No. 3 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) and No. 2 MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) Saturday at 8 p.m. CDT.
"I'm so proud of the way our team followed the game plan tonight,” said Lindsey Wilson head coach John Wethington. “I thought we had great focus for the majority of the game. Westmont is a terrific shooting team and we really tried to make them take contested shots. Our guards were obviously very important in defending the perimeter, but I thought our posts also played a critical role in defending the three"
Outside of 16 turnovers, Lindsey Wilson showcased a consistent offensive attack that ended the night shooting 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from the field, including a 13-for-23 effort (56.5 percent) in the second half. The Blue Raiders were also 10-for-14 at the free throw line and 7-for-15 from long range.
Four Lindsey Wilson players ended the night in double-digits, led by Kayla Styles and Malerie Martin. The duo ended the night with 13 points each. Styles also added a team-high seven rebounds and three assists.
Lindsey Wilson was the aggressor early in the first quarter, jumping out to a 10-3 lead with five points coming from Martin. However, Westmont got its footing midway through the period and eventually tied the game, 17-17, on a Krissy Karr layup.
It was much of the same in the second quarter, as neither side grabbed more than a four-point lead at any point. Westmont, aided by a pair of free throws by Morgan Haskin, rode a 31-29 advantage into the intermission.
Both teams shot roughly 38 percent from the field. The Blue Raiders first half success came from beyond the arc, connecting on 5-of-7 attempts from long range, including three by Martin. For Westmont, it was a defense that forced eight Lindsey Wilson turnovers.
Westmont appeared to take control of the game in the third quarter when a put-back by Morgan Haskin sparked a 6-0 mini-run that gave the club a 45-39 lead. The advantage proved to be the largest margin in Westmont’s favor on the night.
"I told the team in between quarters to stay the course and not allow that spurt to define this game,” said Wethington. “And we came out and played a terrific fourth quarter -- both offensively and defensively. That's an outstanding team and we come up with some great stops late in the game."
A quick five points, highlighted by Teanna Curry’s only 3-pointer on the night, almost immediately erased the Westmont run to end the third quarter. Despite the surge, Westmont held the lead, but not for long. A jumper by Martin put Lindsey Wilson up 52-51 with 4:31. The Blue Raiders did not relinquish the advantage the rest of the way en route to the four-point win.
Westmont, which entered the game as the only remaining No. 1 seed in the field after both Our Lady of the Lake (Texas) and Lyon (Ark.) were upset earlier in the day, shot 33.8 percent (22-of-65) from the floor, including a dismal 16.7 percent (3-for-18) from 3-point range.
Senior guard Krissy Karr was one of the bright spots for Westmont, leading the way with 14 points and three assists. Karr was joined in double figures by Haskin, who scored 10 points off the bench.
The loss drops Westmont to 12-10 all-time at the national championship, including a 2-2 mark in the second round. Additionally, the elimination of the Warriors means that the team that wins the national championship will be its first in program history.
"We know we are going to play a great team tomorrow -- they are all great at this point in the tournament,” concluded Wethington. “We just have to continue to play the type of energy and focus we had tonight whoever we play."
For more information on the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, click here.