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Cougars Pounce into Quarterfinals

Saints guard Sierra Calhoun drives into the lane, guarded by Saint Francis forward Whitney Neal
Saints guard Sierra Calhoun drives into the lane, guarded by Saint Francis forward Whitney Neal
Saints guard Sierra Calhoun drives into the lane, guarded by Saint Francis forward Whitney Neal

BY SARA FISHMAN
PHOTOS BY COLTON SPEARMAN
VIDEO BY SAM GENTRY

The University of Saint Francis (Ind.) defeated Siena Heights University (Mich.) 83-59 in the second round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship on March 14. In the first round of the championship, the Siena Heights Saints took on the Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs and defeated them 77-59. The Saints’ record was 25-8 coming into the championship and this is their second appearance. In contrast, the Saint Francis Cougars defeated the Ashford University Saints 57-37 in the first round of the championship. This is their 15th appearance here at the championship.

Early on in the first half, Saint Francis took the lead off of a free throw by Brooke Ridley. Saint Francis held onto the lead in the beginning of the first half. Siena Heights managed to tie it up with 9:30 left on the clock, 17-17. Saint Francis was then granted a foul off of Siena Heights’ Sierra Calhoun and went up 19-17 with 8:10 left in the half. Saint Francis regained the lead at 6:34, making the score 27-17. With 3:45 left on the clock, a defensive foul charged to RaShawn Calvert put Saint Francis up 31-24.

Saint Francis pushed through the final minutes of the first half and kept the lead 40-28 heading into halftime. Saint Francis’ sophomore forward Brooke Ridley was the leading scorer with 14 points.

“The first 10-15 minutes we played really hard and kinda got a lead there at the end,” said Skylarr Shurn, senior guard for Saint Francis. “At halftime we really just talked about expanding the lead.”

Saint Francis received the ball first in the second half and capitalized on their offense possession, putting the score up 44-28. At 12:20 in the second half, Saint Francis’ Janelle Wilson made a three-point-attempt and put the score up 59-36. A two-point-attempt made by Siena Heights’ Alexxis Knannlein put the score at 68-50, with 6:13 left on the clock.

Shurn was the lead scorer of the game with 27 points. “The last few days have really been the mentality to attack and I think we did a good job getting to the basket Skylar Shurn said.

Saint Francis will face Southwestern College in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Catch up on Round 1 results:

Saint Francis (Ind.) vs. Ashford (Iowa) – No Miracle for the Saints

Siena Heights (Mich.) vs. Tennessee Wesleyan – Siena Heights to Face St. Francis After 77-59 Win

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