Cold-shooting Raiders fall to Tabor in second round
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The Southern Oregon women's basketball team wake up fast enough Friday morning to stop the "Cinderella" narrative that followed Tabor (Kan.) into the second round of the NAIA Tournament from being reinforced.
The unranked Blue Jays pulled off their second stunner in as many games at the Tyson Events Center, advancing to the national quarterfinals with a 72-65 win over the 10th-ranked Raiders.
Kristen Schoenherr went 6-for-8 with 15 points, but the rest of the Raiders shot a combined 32 percent (18-for-57) from the field.
That number, paired with 20 turnovers, spelled doom. Even still, SOU erased what was at one point a 12-point Tabor lead in the second half with a 13-1 surge and took the lead for the first time in the period, 56-55, on Alexi Smith's put-back with 5:59 left.
The Blue Jays (21-12) took the lead right back with Taylor Hurd's 3-pointer on the next possession and never trailed again.
They'll play either top-seeded Davenport (Mich.) or fourth-seeded Briar Cliff (Iowa) on Saturday for the right to play in the Final Four. On Wednesday they upset seventh-ranked and second-seeded Marian (Ind.), 53-50.
The Raiders, seeded No. 3 in the quadrant, ended their season with a 27-5 record, matching the third-most wins in program history. The 96-61 win over Robert Morris (Ill.) in the first round was SOU's first win at the tournament in 16 years and only the sixth ever.
Hurd scored a game-high 21 points for the Blue Jays, who shot 40 percent (27-for-68) as a team. Tena Loewen totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds and Tonisha Dean scored 14.
SOU forward Carly Meister registered team-highs of 16 points and eight rebounds, Smith contributed 12 points and six boards, and Ashley Claussen had seven points and five assists.
Trailing 54-43, jumpers by Autumn Durand and Demi Sahlinger and Claussen's pull-up 3-pointer sparked the 13-1 run. After Hurd's triple put the lead back in Tabor's hands, 58-56, Mallory Zuercher extended it to five points with another 3.
Raider guard Bree Park nailed a 3-pointer to trim Tabor's edge to 65-63 with 2:30 left. SOU then got a defensive stop and had a possession to tie or take the lead but turned it over, and Hurd made them pay with a basket-and-one for a 68-63 lead.
Tena Loewen's put-back with 20 seconds remaining made it 70-65 to seal the win.
SOU scored the first eight points of the game before losing rhythm and going down 27-25 by halftime. A 9-0 Blue Jays run to make it 40-30 put them in control.
The loss was the final game for four Raider seniors: Brenna Anderson, Park, Schoenherr and Smith.