In the first game of the 2017 NAIA Div. II Women’s Basketball National Championship, 2-seed Davenport (Mich.), playing in their final NAIA tournament before moving to NCAA Div. II, advanced to the second round of the tournament winning by a final score of 80-73.
The Cougars early struggles from the floor and the Panthers early successes from beyond the arc were a key to the Davenport victory. In the first half, Davenport was 7-14 from three-point range, while Saint Francis had a hard time putting the ball through the hoop shooting only 30-percent from the floor. Somehow, the Cougars were able to keep it close, heading to the break down by just six.
The second half was a similar story, as the Panthers continued to sink big shots from deep, but also added their post play to the mix. By game’s end, Davenport would have four players in double figures: Hannah Wilkerson (12), Lauren Brower (15), Mallory Sewell (15), and Emily Severn (19). Head coach Robyn Scherr-Wells attributed their second-half post play to the inside-outside strategy they displayed throughout half number one.
“We talked at halftime and we made a few adjustments. We emphasized still needing to get the ball inside and looking more to our post players. . . I thought we were just really able to use that inside-out game a little bit better [than we did in the first half].
Kara Gerka, playing in her last game as a Cougar, put on a one-woman show for Saint Francis (Ind.). The senior finished with a game-high 21 points.
(2) Davenport will now await the winner of (3) Jamestown and (6) Oregon Tech. Their next game will be Friday, Mar. 10th at 8:30 a.m.