The Southern Oregon women’s basketball team is closing their regular season strong and setting their sights on the conference championship as well as the NAIA tournament. Their dominant play continued this weekend, beating Warner Pacific College 82-56 on Friday, and Concordia University 90-66 on Saturday.
Friday’s game against WPC had a scrappy, back and forth 36-27 first half before SOU stepped on the gas in the second half and ran away with it. Coach Lynn Kennedy said of the second half adjustments, “We got back to how we play and dictated the tempo. Lex and Carly established inside and we were able to fast break.”
The Raiders had a balanced offensive attack with 6 players scoring between 9 to 13 points. Carly Meister, Alexi Smith, Kristen Schoenherr, and Ashley Claussen led the starters with 9, 10, 11, and 11 points respectively, while Courtney West and Tiana Bradford led the bench with 13 and 9 points. WPC was led by Jordan Wilcox, who scored 24 points, but her input wasn’t enough to fend off SOU’s balanced scoring.
Saturday’s game against Concordia was more of the same for the women’s team, with SOU jumping out to a 9-0 advantage. Concordia never got closer than 6 after that. Bree Park, Kristen Schoenherr, Brenna Anderson, and Alexi Smith were all recognized before the game during a Senior Night ceremony. Smith put on a show as she scored 18 in the first half and finished with a career high of 29 points in the game. Kennedy said of Smith, “She is the type of player that if you need two points, she’ll get you two points at any time. I’m proud of her and what she’s accomplished.” Fellow senior Kristen Schoenherr chipped in with 18 points and Ashley Claussen contributed with 14.
The weekend’s games served as rematches of the first two conference games of the season where SOU narrowly lost to Concordia 66-67 and beat WPC 67-63. Since the Concordia loss, the Raiders have only lost two conference and overall games, with the win over WPC serving as their only of less than 8 points all season.
The team hasn’t shot under 40% all season, a streak that continued through the weekend. The Cascade Conference tournament began on Tuesday where SOU met the College of Idaho in the quarterfinals, winning 78-63. The lady Raiders have locked up home court advantage through at least the semifinals in the conference tournament and will continue to play in Riehm if the wins continue. The team is also poised to make it’s first NAIA tournament appearance since 2009.