BY KIT GRODE
PHOTOS BY BRIANNA TUREK
VIDEO BY ANNA LICHTI AND GARRETT SHAFER
The Davenport Panthers defeated the Hastings College Broncos 70-52 in the quarterfinals of the national championship. This is the Panthers’ tenth appearance at the championship after a 30-1 regular season and two wins so far in the championship, over Ave Maria in round one and Purdue Calumet last night. The Broncos came into the championship to win their first round game with Union College and claim a victory over the Indiana Wesleyan University, the defending national champions, last night.
The game began with a Broncos’ tipoff, and intense back-and-forth action between the two teams. Davenport scored the first point of the game with a free throw by Brittany Johnson, but neither team would score again for the next four minutes of play, when Hastings’ Sierra Williamson put up a field goal and a free throw to take the lead. Davenport surged forward to go on a 8-0 run to take the lead for the second time.
The Broncos struggled to shoot, only putting up 12 of 35 attempts, but managed to tie the game 28-28 with 44 seconds remaining in the half. A foul by Hastings’ Abby Jackson allowed the Panthers to put up an additional two points, but a field goal by Shanelle Farmer tied up the game at the buzzer to end the half 30-30.
“We challenged them a little bit. We said that this has been uncharted territory for them for a little while,” said Mike Williams, Panthers’ head coach. “I think what happened is we talked about when things aren’t going your way–you drop your head, you make excuses–we said that can’t happen. You have to make that decision and you’ve got to keep your head up and accept responsibility.”
At the half, Alison Bouman led Davenport with eight points, and the Panthers put up 12 of 28 point attempts for a 42.86 shooting percentage. Bouman also grabbed seven of the Panthers’ total 17 rebounds. For the Broncos, junior Jamie Van Kirk put up 16 points and senior Laurel Zweiner retrieved eight rebounds.
“We battled them,” said Carrie Hofstetter, Hastings’ head coach. “Defensively, I thought we were tough. First half, especially, we defended as well as I’ve seen anybody defend them here for sure, and on film. Our kids, they crash the boards hard; they battled defensively. Offensively, we just couldn’t knock down shots we needed in the second half.”
The second half began with a field goal from Van Kirk, but the Panthers took back the lead within two minutes of gameplay to go on a 7-0 run. The Broncos tied it up again 39-39 with 13:43 remaining, and twice more with a three-point shot from freshman Alex Edwards and a field goal by Zweiner after Davenport’s Bouman scored five points in a row.
“Offensively, we got some shots that we wanted, but we weren’t able to knock them down when we need to in the second half when they were making that run on us,” Hofstetter said.
Davenport pulled ahead again, stretching their lead to 20 points. Zweiner put up a last-minute field goal, but the Panthers came away with the win.
“Our guards did a really good job of helping out with defense,” Bouman said. “I think playing as a team is always what we’re all about. If we’re not having a good game, anyone on our bench can start up and shoot, make the great defensive plays. It’s really our team. We just have to keep playing together.”
Catch up on previous game recaps:
Round 2: Davenport (Mich.) vs. Purdue Calumet (Ind.) – Panthers on the Prowl, Heading to Quarterfinals
Round 2: Hastings (Neb.) vs. Indiana Wesleyan – Broncos Defeat Defending National Champions
Round 1: Davenport (Mich.) vs. Ave Maria (Fla.) – No. 1 Davenport Dominates Ave Maria
Round 1: Hastings (Neb.) vs. Union (Ky.) – Broncos Break Away from Bulldogs in Second Half