Baker Rolls to First-ever Fab Four
By Scott Barker, Communications and Sports Information Intern
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score | Bracket) In game two of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship Quarterfinals, No. 6-seed Baker (Kan.) upended No. 4-seed Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), 71-52, to advance to its first-ever national semifinals.
“They are extremely ecstatic right now,” said Baker head coach Ben Lister. “I think our entire fan base was extremely ecstatic. We are riding an emotional wave right now. To come in here and have back-to-back double digit wins over two really, really good basketball teams, it’s unbelievable. Our girls are just playing so well right now.”
Both teams got out to a fast start, as Baker (27-8) shot 50.0 percent (8-of-16) from the field and Lewis-Clark State shot 46.7 percent (7-of-15) in the first period. Sydney Buchel scored 10 of her 15 points in the opening 10 minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers to lead the Wildcats to a first quarter lead of 20-15.
The second period was different story, as both offensives combined to shoot 6-of-22 (27.2 percent) from the field and each had five turnovers. The Wildcats’ Courtney Hoag converted a layup to give Baker its largest lead of the half (32-23) of nine points heading into the intermission.
The Wildcats controlled most of the third quarter, as the Warriors were never able to get closer than four.
Baker ended the game on a 10-0 run to advance to the Fab Four with the 19-point victory (71-52). The Warriors were held scoreless the final 4:07 of the game and were outscored 27-14 in the final frame.
The Wildcats scored 21 points off of 13 Warrior turnovers, compared to 12 points off turnover for Lewis-Clark State.
Lewis-Clark State (27-7) was led by Carlyn Orlandi, who scored a game-high 21 points – the only player in double digits. Orlandi also added five assists.
Lewis-Clark State – ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Division I in 3-point field goal percentage (40.1) and No. 7 in 3-point field goals made (247) – shot only 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from the 3-point line.
Baker had four players hit the double figure mark in points – Kelsey Larson scored a team-high 17 points, Buchel and Jami Hodge netted 15 points each, and Ericka Simpson added 13 points. Hodge is averaging 23.3 points per game through three tournament games on 20-of-32 shooting (62.5 percent) from the field.
The Wildcats, who rank No. 1 in the NAIA Division I in field goal percentage defense (33.3 percent), held the Warriors to 33.9 percent from the field. Baker – ranked No. 3 in 3-point field goal percentage (37.8) – upped that average by hitting 9-of-19 (47.4 percent) from downtown.
Baker continues its quest to win its first-ever National Championship on Monday at 6 p.m. CDT. The Wildcats will square off against Heart of America Athletic Conference rival and No. 5-seed Benedictine (Kan.).