The Southern Oregon women’s basketball team trounced Robert Morris University Wednesday morning 96-61 to advance to the round of 16 of the NAIA tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. The win marks the Raider ladies first NAIA tournament win in 16 years.
The Raiders ran out to a 14-4 advantage with 13 minutes remaining in the first half. The Eagles battled back and cut the SOU lead to 30-24 with 4 minutes remaining, but never got any closer. SOU took a 41-29 halftime lead and didn’t looked back.
SOU completely dominated the second half. Junior Carly Meister scored the first 6 overall points of the half, and the Raiders first 8. The Raiders shot 56% in the second half, pushing the lead to 27 with 9 minutes remaining and cruised to the finish.
The Eagles of Robert Morris have been strong on defense all season, but Wednesday was a different story. The Raiders crushed them with a 62-26 paint scoring advantage. According to the SOU Raider athletic page, coach Lynn Kennedy said prior to the game, “We have to play consistent to who we are. That means creating tempo, playing good defense, and being the better rebounders.” The Raiders did just that.
Southern Oregon kept up the same relentless offense against Robert Morris that they demonstrated during the regular season. Throughout league play, SOU had 5 players who scored in double figures, and in Wednesday’s game 6 did. Meister lead the way with 25 points on 11-15 shooting and 9 rebounds. Ashley Claussen and Alexi Smith chipped in with 13 points, 6 assists and 12 points, 8 rebounds respectively. Courtney West, Autumn Durand, and Kristin Shoenherr also contributed with 12, 10, and 10 points. Sharpshooting senior Bree Park, who has missed the last 5 games due to injuries, came off the bench and hit 2 three-pointers.
The Eagles were lead by Yolanda de la Torre, Kiela Gardner, and Jailyn Norris, who combined for 36 points, but also made only 12 of their 36 shot attempts. RMU shot 30% for the game.
According the Southern Oregon athletic page, Kennedy stated after the game, “We stayed true to ourselves and our usual game plan, just like we talked about beforehand.”
SOU had a 57-27 rebounding advantage for the game, and still haven’t been out-rebounded in a game all season.
As a result of the victory, the Raiders will move on to play unranked and 7-seed Tabor College, who upset 2-seed Marian in their first round game. The sweet sixteen match is set to take place Friday morning at 6:30 PDT.
In regard to the Tabor game, coach Kennedy added, “It was great for the girls to get the win, but they’re not satisfied.”