Early exit from National Tournament for Tigers
Author: Wendy Reid
Posted: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 10:27 PM
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The No. 24 Olivet Nazarene Univeristy women's basketball team had hoped to snap out of their recent slump with an upset of No. 10 Concordia University (Mich.) on Wednesday, March 6 at the State Farm-NAIA Division II Womens' Basketball National Championship, but it wasn't meant to be. The Tigers fell 80-90 to the Cardinals in the opening round match-up.
The Tigers (23-9) suffered seven of their nine losses since Jan. 1, after opening up the season 11-1 heading into Christmas break. Olivet spent the entire season in the top 25 of the NAIA Coaches Poll, reaching as high as sixth before falling to 24th in the poll leading into the national tournament.
Olivet struggled all day, shooting just 30-of-108 (.283) from the field and just 9-of-47 (.191) from behind the arc. Senior Danielle Tolbert (Pontiac, Mich.) and junior Miranda Geever (Moline, Ill.) led Olivet with 18 points each, with Tolbert pulling down a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Wilson (Portage, Mich.) added 12 points and eight rebounds.
"We had a tough first half and just didn't have any shots falling for us. We got out rebounded today and when your not hitting your shots and not rebounding that's a tough combination," said head coach Lauren Stamatis. "Despite all of that we made a nice run in the second half and had it close at one point. Proud of the girls for a great season."
The Tigers cut its deficit to just one point at 70-69 at the 5:52 mark of the second half after Tolbert cashed in a three off the Concordia turnover. The Cardinals then scored the next seven points to regain control.
Of the 90 points Concordia produced, 73 were scored by three players. Marion Rodriguez led the way with 32 points, followed by 28 from Abbey Hengesbach and 13 from Kelly Cieslak. The Cardinals shot 34-of-85 (.400) from the field, but what hurt the Tigers was the 22-of-35 (.628) from the free-throw line.
The loss bring the Tigers season to a close. Olivet finished the regular season of the Chicagoland College Athletic Conference (CCAC) 17-5, in a four way tie for second place. The CCAC's had five teams earn their way to the national tournament, the most of all conferences.