SIOUX CITY, IOWA- The Hastings College women’s basketball team had their defense show up big when it counted, advancing to the second round of the NAIA National Championship with a 54-46 victory over the Aquinas Saints, a team they defeated November 23 by the score of 76-61.
“I think both teams were great defensively. As fans watched this game, it probably wasn’t too pretty, neither team shot it great, but I feel like we [HC] were really locked in defensively, and they [Aquinas] are just so long, it causes problems on the defensive end,” Head Coach Jina Douglas said about the defense.Michaela Faber got the first basket of the game for Aquinas with an offensive rebound and finish under the basket. Hastings’ Taylor Beacom (FR/Papillion, NE) answered with a basket of her own to tie the game and a three-pointer by Shandra Farmer (JR/Hastings, NE) gave Hastings a 5-2 lead and Hastings never looked back.
Hastings was able to build their lead to 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. A 6-0 run by Hastings gave them their largest lead of the half at eight. For the second quarter in a row, Hastings found themselves leading by four at the end, this time a 31-27 lead at halftime. Hastings was able to get their offense rolling in the second half, holding Aquinas to only four points in the third quarter. Hastings outscored Aquinas 10-4 in the quarter. At this point the lines were drawn in which team was winning the rebound battle and which team was winning the turnover battle, as by the end of the third quarter, Hastings had a +11 turnover margin (16-5) and Aquinas was rebounding at a much higher clip than Hastings at 45-26.
In the fourth quarter, Hastings was able to force the offensive woes to continue for Aquinas who went on a scoring drought of 7:11 spanning both quarters. It was not until the 7:07 mark of the fourth quarter that Aquinas got a basket from Daz’Sha Day.
Mackenzie Willicott (SR/Blue Hill, NE) built Hastings’ lead to 17 with a pair of baskets for their largest lead of the night.The fourth quarter was the only quarter that Aquinas outscored Hastings, with a score of 15-13 in the quarter. Hastings was able to finish the game with a turnover margin of +16 (22-6), but were outrebounded by Aquinas 62-32. As a team, Hastings shot 21-for-67 (31.3 percent) compared to Aquinas’ 15-for-58 performance (25.9 percent).
Next for the Broncos is a rematch from December 28 with the Bobcats of College of the Ozarks, a game that the Bobcats edged passed a Farmer-less Hastings team. The rematch is set for 8:45 p.m. CST.