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Briar Cliff charges to Quarterfinals, defeats undefeated Panthers

The Briar Cliff Charger's Heather Haber finds an opening to go for a jump shot against Davenport University.
The Briar Cliff Charger’s Heather Haber finds an opening to go for a jump shot against Davenport University. Haber had six points from the game. PHOTO BY BRIANNA TUREK.

BY JOSEPH BROWN
PHOTOS BY BRIANNA TUREK
VIDEO BY AUSTIN PENFIELD

The No. 5 Briar Cliff University Chargers upset the No. 1 Davenport Panthers 55-53 today in the second round of the 2015 NAIA DII Women’s National Basketball Tournament at the Tyson Event Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

The Panthers, who defeated Clarke University of Iowa 78-38 in the first round on Wednesday, came into this year’s tournament hungry for their first program National Championship title, after losing in the semifinals last year to College of the Ozarks (Mo.) 75-72.

However, their run would come to an end, shooting only 33% in the first half, and ending 31% on the day.

Briar Cliff of the Great Plains Athletic conference, who upset No. 4 Menlo College 80-61 in the first round, stormed into this game determined to shut down Davenport’s offense, who averages 48.1 points a game, and they did.

Keeping the panthers to just 28 points in the first half and only 53 on the day, the Chargers dominated the Panthers defensively; running a strong 2-3 zone that led to six Panthers, four of which were starters, to be in foul trouble with two fouls a piece early in the game, leaving Davenport in double bonus by 10:00 left in the first half.

The foul trouble also led to the misread final play, due to most starters being on the bench with five fouls.

Also leading to the Panthers demise was turning the ball over 25 times, and giving the Chargers 47 points off of free throws.

With five minutes less, leading scorer Tiesha Stokes fouled out and was forced to sit the rest of the game on the bench.

She ended with 17 on the day.

Leading the chargers in scoring was Sloan Masters, who ended the day with 15 points.

Mike Williams, head coach of the Panthers said the loss is attributed to a misread on the final play call.

“We run a shooter to the corner and pitch it to her, and she read the wrong read,” Williams said. “She made the wrong read but that’s not her fault.”

Williams also said that the foul trouble is something he has never seen in his 30 plus years of coaching.

“We had a whole slew of kids foul out, I’ve never been a part of anything like it. I was blown away, I haven’t seen anything like that and I’ve been coaching for 32 years,” Williams said. “To see how many of your players are sitting on the bench for a majority of the game, what are you gonna do?”

Mike Power, the head coach of the Chargers, said that his team earned every bit of this win.

“We spent a lot of games this year just grinding it out. Second half we got really sloppy in our offence and I think that it’s one of those things where you start to play not to lose, and we just tightened up, and we found a way to win,” Power said. “We just grind. We’re used to only shooting 30% from the field and still winning because we played good enough defense. I was really happy with the way the kids felt and I knew that we’d bring a valiant effort.”

The Charges move on to the semifinal round against Taber (Kan.) this Saturday at 1 p.m.

Catch up on previous game recaps:

Round 1, Davenport (Mich): No. 1 Davenport (Mich.) – 78 vs. No. 8 Clarke (Iowa) – 48
Undefeated Panthers Roll Past Crusaders

Round 1, Briar Cliff (Iowa): No. 4 Menlo (Calif.) – 61 vs. No. 5 Briar Cliff (Iowa) – 80
Briar Cliff Dominates Menlo in Opening Round Game

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