St. Francis bounces No. 1-seeded Ozarks
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score)The College of the Ozarks (Mo.) will have to wait at least one more year before claiming the program’s first-ever national title. The top-seeded Lady Bobcats had entered Friday evening’s second round national championships matchup with fifth-seeded St. Francis (Ill.) having lost only once all season. That changed when the Fighting Saints turned in the tournament’s biggest upset so far, winning 77-63.
- St. Francis keeps hopes alive of returning to the national semifinals for the second year in a row. The program had never won a game on the national stage until the 2017 tournament. Head coach Steve Brooks, who led Indiana Wesleyan to national titles in 2007 and 2013, has a way of getting his teams to perform in March. On the other hand, head coach Becky Vest’s squad ends the season at 31-2 overall.
- College of the Ozarks trailed 17-3 right out of the gate, but it seemed to have weathered the storm. It slashed the deficit down to one (37-36) early in the third period with a Madisen Brethower bucket. By the end of the quarter, St. Francis had responded and built a 58-49 lead.
- The duo of Kaitlin Aylward (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Kamari Jordan (20 points, seven assists) were too much for the Lady Bobcats. Jordan drilled a back breaker of a triple with 2:01 left in the game, pushing a four-point lead to seven (70-63). Ozarks was unable to make run, going the final 2:55 without a point.
- The Lady Bobcats turned the ball over only five times, but picked an inopportune time for an off shooting night (34.5 percent). They went just 6-for-24 (.250) from 3-point distance. Cassidy Johnson went 3-for-16 from the field. Teammate Kelsie Cleeton (11 points, 12 rebounds) turned in yet another double-double.
- Nichole Davidson (16 points, nine rebounds) joined Aylward and Jordan in double figures. The Fighting Saints shot 50.9 percent (27-for-53) from the floor. Nineteen of their 27 field goals were assisted.
- St. Francis (22-9) has advanced to the quarterfinals where it will go up against third-seeded Northwestern (Iowa) (24-8) at the Tyson Events Center at 6 p.m. on Saturday.