WOMEN'S HOOPS: Cliff upsets Ozarks, advances to NAIA quarterfinals
SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- This battle of storied programs went to Briar Cliff as the 14th-ranked Chargers came from behind to upset the fifth-ranked Lady Bobcats of Ozarks, 80-67, in the second round of the NAIA Div. II Women's Basketball National Championship.
For Ozarks, this was the program's record 19th tournament appearance. The Lady Bobcats are yet to win a title, but have played in four championship games. For the Cliff, it was its 10th overall appearance and fourth consecutive. The Chargers have reached four Fab Fours, but have never advanced to a championship game.
Ozarks led by as many as nine points in the opening half. Luckily for the Cliff, its defense shined during the game's first 20 minutes while its offense sputtered. The Chargers shot just 26.5 percent from the field, but forced the Lady Bobcats into 17 first half turnovers. At the break, the Chargers trailed, 28-23, but it could have been much worse.
Briar Cliff was led by Mattie Murren's 17-point, five steal performance. Murren was only 3-12 from the field and 2-8 from downtown, but connected on 9-10 free throws. Kelsey Evans chipped in 13, while Slone Masters came off the bench to drop in a dozen. Sara Reeves rounded out the Chargers' double-digit scorers with 10 points. Masters grabbed a team-best six rebounds, while Williams finished with a team-high three assists.
The Chargers improved to 25-9 and advanced to play Indiana Wesleyan Saturday in the national quarterfinals.