Tahlequah Daily Press

March 4, 2014

NSU women keep season alive with tournament win over Bearcats

— MARYVILLE, Mo. — The Northeastern State women’s basketball team defeated Northwest Missouri State 47-42 Monday night inside Bearcat Arena in the first round of the MIAA Championship.

The win for the No. 9-seeded RiverHawks (11-16) was the first on the road since Dec. 5 and ended the season for the No. 8 seed Bearcats (10-17). The win for NSU snapped a six-game losing streak and an eight-game road losing skid.

“We’re very pleased with the result tonight,” NSU coach Randy Gipson said. “It was a low offensive output, but these were two really good defensive teams going at it.”

Northeastern State moves on to the quarterfinals of the tournament and will meet top-seeded and No. 11-ranked Central Missouri at noon Thursday in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Junior guard Fontana Tate led NSU with 18 points and seven rebounds.

“She was really solid throughout. It was good to see her play like that,” Gipson said of Tate. “She made some big shots coming down the stretch to help us build the lead.”

Chelsey Beathard added 11 points for NSU, and freshman forward Che’Ron Lewis chipped in eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Northeastern State shot 35.3 percent (18-for-51) from the field, 39.1 percent (9-for-23) from downtown and 25 percent (2-for-8) at the free-throw line. The Bearcats shot 29.4 percent (15-for-51) overall, 31.6 percent (6-for-19) from behind the arc and 60 percent (6-for-10) at the line.

Ashleigh Nelson was the only member of the home team in double figures, and she led with 18 points. Ariel Easton added nine points and eight boards.

The RiverHawks outrebounded NWMSU by a 42-34 margin, which marked the first time in nine games (Jan. 25 at Washburn) that they were able to win the rebound battle.

Northeastern State found its way to an early 17-16 advantage, and the visitors used a 9-0 run from there to take a comfortable 26-16 lead with 5:39 remaining in the opening half.

Northwest Missouri State exploded for a 10-0 run in just three minutes to tie the score at 26-26, but a three from Beathard with 13 seconds left in the opening period put NSU on top at intermission.

The second half saw four ties in the first 11 minutes, but the Bearcats were never able to take a lead. NSU led 38-37 with 7:58 remaining, and the RiverHawks used a 7-0 run across the next three minutes to take an eight-point lead that NWMSU could not recover from.

Northeastern State missed six free throws late and also had two turnovers, but the road team did just enough defensively to hang on for the tournament victory.

Now it’s on to Kansas City.

“Tonight was a special win, and we’re still alive,” Gipson said. “We’re playing the top-seeded team now. That will be a huge challenge, but we’re going to be excited about going up (to Kansas City) and playing them.”

Northeastern State 47, NW Missouri St. 42

Northeastern State              29        18        47

Northwest Missouri State   26        16        42

Northeastern State (11-16): Fontana Tate 18, Chelsey Beathard 11, Che’Ron Lewis 8, Kate Bellamy 5, Mya Walker 3, Courtney Cowan 2, Carrington Fox 0, Sarah Sagely 0, Jamie Jackson 0. Totals 18-51 2-8 47.

NW Missouri St. (10-17): Ashleigh Nelson 18, Ariel Easton 9, Annie Mathews 8, Tember Schechinger 4, Meridee Scott, Shelby Mustain 0, Alexandria Blaurock 0, Monique Stevens 0. Totals 15-51 6-10 42.