PORTLAND — Sparked by Ashland's Allison Gida thievery on this night, the Southern Oregon women's basketball team took control early on its way to a 91-84 win over Concordia in the final game of the regular season Saturday.
Gida tied a school record with nine steals that made way for 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Her 15 rebounds also matched a career high.
Four others scored in double figures as the Raiders (23-7) finished with a record of 12-6 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference and will go into the postseason having won six of their last seven.
The Raiders tied with College of Idaho for third place in the CCC standings but lost the tiebreaker. As a result, they'll have the No. 4 seed in the CCC Tournament and host No. 5 Evergreen State (14-11, 10-8) on Tuesday in the quarterfinals at Bob Riehm Arena. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. against the Geoducks, whom SOU swept in the regular season.
Against the Cavaliers (6-22, 2-14), the Raiders scored nine unanswered to race out to an early 16-6 lead and Concordia never got closer than six after that.
Gida took center stage when the Raiders scored 13 straight in the last two minutes of the first half to go up 47-26. She hit three jumpers and had two steals that led to baskets, including one that she passed off to Ashley Claussen for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. By halftime, she had seven steals and the Cavaliers had 20 turnovers.
Claussen finished with 14 points, seven assists and three steals. Kristen Schoenherr had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists, Autumn Durand had 14 points and five rebounds and Carly Meister scored 13 with seven boards.
NAIA WESTERN REGION — At Atherton, Calif., Southern Oregon didn't take lightly to Great Falls (Mont.) ending its run of four straight NAIA Western Region Qualifying Tournament titles in 2013 and, on Saturday, the seventh-ranked Raiders used an uncommon underdog role to take back the region.
Nine Raiders placed in the top four of their respective classes to make them eligible for the upcoming NAIA National Championships in the process, and one wild card gave SOU a total of 10 qualifiers.
With Jacob Stigall (125 pounds), Central Point's Brock Gutches (174) and Jacob Abrams (184) claiming individual titles, SOU accumulated 147 points to outdo fourth-ranked Great Falls' 127.5. Sixth-ranked Montana State-Northern was third with 109.5.
The top-ranked Gutches took care of his third straight regional championship, winning by 10-3 decision against Embry-Riddle's Jose Cruz in the semifinals and by fall in 2:13 against Simpson's Brady Beamon for the title. His record jumped to 28-3.
Abrams was on the winning end of an injury default against teammate Tucker Van Matre in the 184-pound final. Van Matre had to win twice to qualify for the first time since his freshman season, and Abrams had a bye before his major decision over Embry-Riddle's Jon Wiley in the semifinals to qualify for the second straight year.
Taylor Johnson, who won the region last season, conceded to MSU-Northern's Toby Cheff by injury default in the 197-pound final. Cheff and Johnson haven't wrestled this season and will likely be the top two seeds at the NAIA Championships.
Stigall is one of five Raiders who qualified for the first time. Seeded No. 2 at 125, he pinned all three of his opponents: Simpson's Ty Young (2:45), Great Falls' Luke Schlosser (6:40) and Embry-Riddle's Sean Silva (3:23), giving him a team-best 22 points.
Placing third for the Raiders were Trevor Hancock (133), Tyler Cowger (149) and Clayton Burtis (285), while Garrett Urrutia took fourth. Johnathon Gay was the wild card at 141 pounds.
The NAIA Championships are March 6-8 in Topeka, Kan.
CONCORDIA 78, SOU 53 — At Portland, Southern Oregon needed one weekend win to take the No. 2 seed to the Cascade Conference Tournament but didn't get it after Concordia opened a 54-21 lead by halftime and cruised.
The Cavaliers (22-8 overall, 11-7 CCC) forced a second-place tie with the 14th-ranked Raiders (22-8, 11-7) and a split in the season series, but won the tiebreaker. SOU will host sixth-seeded Northwest Christian (16-12, 10-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the CCC Tournament. NCU won the first two meetings with SOU.
Concordia's Adam Herman scored 20 of his game-high 30 points in the first half and pulled down nine rebounds.
David Sturner registered 13 points and seven rebounds, Eric Thompson had 13 points and six rebounds, and Jeff Bush had 10 points, six boards and three assists to lead the Raiders.
A night after going 3-for-34 from 3-point range, SOU went 7-for-37. In just two games, SOU's 3-point percentage dropped from a league-best 38.9 to 36.5.