(SEARCY, Ark.) — The Jennies earned their first NCAA Tournament win since the 2005-06 season, routing Northern State, 82-69 on Friday night against sixth-seeded Northern State.
Four players scored in double-figures for UCM (26-4), led by senior Keuna Flax, who tallied 21. Junior Justina Prairie Chief scored a season-best 14 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-5 from the floor and splashing two triples.
The first 6:17 featured four ties and Northern State’s only leads of the game at 2-0 and 7-5. The Jennies pulled away over the next 6:01, scoring 12 of the next 17 points to take a 22-15 lead.
The lead ballooned to 10 following a triple from Flax and a pair of free throws from Revonnia Howard. Northern State pulled to within six at 32-26, but UCM answered by outscoring the Wolves, 9-2 to close out the half and preserve a 41-28 lead. The Jennies held the upper hand in points in the paint (12-10), points off turnovers (7-3), second chance points (8-3) and bench points (9-5).
After Northern State’s Sadie Stotesbery opened the second half with a layup, the Jennies rattled off three-straight triples, two from Lewis and one from Flax, to take their largest lead of the game at 50-30.
The Wolves chipped away, cutting the deficit in half at 10 over a span of nearly 4 1/2 minutes. Central Missouri’s lead shrunk to five after Alison Kusler hit a three and a layup with 11:01 left in the game.
However, the Jennies would not allow Northern State to come any closer, getting four points from Flax and a three-pointer from Prairie Chief, holding an eight-point lead with 7:59 to go.
After Rachel Krogman pulled the Wolves to within six with 6:09 left, Flax and Howard combined to score the next 10 UCM points to keep the lead at 10.
The teams exchanged baskets over the next four possessions, but the Jennies were able to put the game on ice following a layup by Shelby Winkelmann and a pair of free throws from Prairie Chief to go up by a dozen with 1:01 remaining in the game.
The Jennies enjoyed their first NCAA Tournament victory since March 10, 2006, against Angelo State in the Central Regional quarterfinals.
UCM’s all-time NCAA Tournament record improves to 20-18 and 3-5 under head coach Dave Slifer.
The Jennies will match up with Concordia St. Paul in the regional semifinals Saturday at 7:30 p.m. from Rhodes Field House.