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WOMEN'S HOOPS: Wildcats bounce Chargers from NAIA tourney

Indiana Wesleyan, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation in seven-straight NAIA Top 25 polls this season, put the clamps on Briar Cliff's offense as it notched a 69-57 win in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Div. II Women's Basketball National Championship, at Sioux City's Tyson Events Center.

The fourth-ranked Wildcats limited the 14th-ranked Chargers to a shooting percentage of only 32.0 percent, including an 18.8 mark from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Wildcats shot 53.5 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from downtown. The Wildcats also outrebounded the Chargers, 36-26.

Despite a poor shooting percentage and losing the battle of the boards, the Chargers never gave up. They trailed by 13 points in the opening half, but bounced back to tie the game with 11:54 to play on a free throw b y Slone Masters. The game featured five ties and three lead changes. The Chargers took their final lead with 11:27 left to play, 37-36. The Wildcats then went on an 8-0 run and the Chargers were unable to close within more than three the rest of the game.

Masters led the Chargers in scoring for the second time in three national tournament games as she tallied 18 points. In their final collegiate games, Kelsey Evans and Sara Reeves each reached double figures, finishing with 12 and 11, respectively. Senior Kela Cihak, who had been sidelined with a season-ending knee injury, entered the game for its final seconds and scored the contest's final basket.

For Indiana Wesleyan, only Paige Smith reached double figures as she posted a 25-point, 12-rebound double-double. With the win, Indiana Wesleyan improved to 33-3 overall and advanced to Monday's Fab Four, where it will meet either Bethel or Morningside. The Chargers concluded their 2012-13 campaign with an overall record of 25-10.

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Tags: Athletics