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Raider women crush Webber

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- The Southern Oregon Raiders sent a would-be Cinderella scrambling out of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament before the band at the ball even got warmed up.

Webber State, the only school in the 32-team field with a losing record, overcame travel difficulties to reach Sioux City but was sent packing in short order by second-seeded Southern Oregon, 79-50, in first round action Wednesday.

In a national tournament, anything can happen, said Raiders coach Shirley Huyett. When a team's basically playing with nothing to lose and everything to gain, some incredible things happen.

Nada Janackovic and the Raiders made sure an upset wasn't going to be one of them. The 6-foot-1 Janackovic hit 11-of-17 shots and scored 25 points to pace the Raiders, who meet the winner of today's game between 15th-seeded Central Methodist of Missouri and unseeded Cardinal Stritch of Wisconsin.

Southern Oregon (28-3) raced to a 45-26 halftime lead and cruised from there as Webber State (14-17) made just 18 of its 71 shots in the game, 8-of-39 in the second half.

Part of that was an aggressive Southern Oregon defense. Part of it was also fatigue. Webber State traveled two hours from Babson Park, Fla., to Sarasota on Monday, only to find its flight canceled. After another hour's trek to St. Petersburg, it was eight hours before the Warriors could board a flight for Chicago.

Plans had been to fly into Chicago around 2 p.m. Monday, take a bus to Sioux City and arrive late Monday night. They didn't even reach Chicago until — a.m. Tuesday.

My parents live 20 minutes from Chicago so we all went there and slept on their living room floor -- all 22 of us, said Webber State coach Michelle Saxson. We got up about 8 o'clock (Tuesday) and it took about 12 hours to get here with all the snow in Chicago and Des Moines. We missed the banquet. We pulled in about a quarter to nine, about when it was getting over.

Then came Wednesday's equally gruelling challenge -- stopping a team that represents the best of three entries here from the Cascade Conference, which has produced the last three champions.

Luckily, Southern Oregon wasn't at the top of its game, according to Janackovic.

We didn't play our best game, she said. We can play better.

The Raiders scored first and never trailed. They closed the first half with a 14-4 run over the final 4:17 to turn a nine-point lead into a 19-point cushion. Webber piled up 17 first-half turnovers to just four by Southern Oregon.

The Raiders scored the first five points of the second half and their lead was never less than 20 the rest of the way. A layup by Janackovic made it a 33-point game, the biggest margin of the contest at 72-39 with 5:34 to play.

Denise Berry was the only other Raider to reach double figures, scoring 14 points. All 12 players on Southern Oregon's roster scored and it seemed likely that Huyett's team -- which reached the semifinals a year ago in its first trip to the event -- will be around for awhile.

There are probably several teams here that could win it, said Huyett, whose team was ranked No. — in the nation twice during the regular season. When there's not a lot of cross-regional play, it's hard to tell how teams compare. A lot of voters go by past performance. But when you get here, you can toss all of that out the window.

Megan Winchester scored nine points for the Raiders, hitting all three of her 3-point attempts.

SOUTHERN OREGON (28-3)

Lamb 1-4 4-6 7, Winchester 3-7 0-0 9, Merritt 1-2 0-2 2, Lincoln 0-1 1-2 1, Richards 1-4 2-2 5, Saltzman 0-5 2-2 2, Fisher 3-5 0-0 6, Janackovic 11-17 3-4 25, Taylor 1-6 1-2 3, Berry 6-10 2-2 14, Blakely 1-3 0-0 2, Westerberg 0-3 3-6 3. Totals: 28-69 18-28 79.

WEBBER STATE (14-18)

Williams 1-3 0-3 2, Lundy 4-10 2-5 10, McCarter 2-6 1-3 5, Miner 0-8 2-4 2, Brogdon 2-11 1-5 5, Brodus 2-11 1-5 5, Gulley 6-12 5-5 17, Sampson 3-11 3-4 9, Lewis 0-3 0-0 0, Sanders 0-2 0-0 0, Powell 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-71 14-30 50.

Halftime score -- Southern Oregon 45, Webber State 26. 3-point shots -- Southern Oregon 5-17 (Winchester 3-4, Richards 1-2, Lamb 1-3, Lincoln 0-1), Webber State 0-5 (McCarty 0-1, Lewis 0-1, Sanders 0-1, Miner 0-2). Fouled out -- Lundy, Guiley, Blakely, Westerberg.

Rebounds -- Southern Oregon 49 (Berry 7), Webber State 62 (Brodus 13). Assists -- Southern Oregon 19 (Lamb 9), Webber State 5 (Guiley 2, Lewis 2). Turnovers -- Southern Oregon 16, Webber State 29. Total fouls -- Southern Oregon 22, Webber State 20.