SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The No. 9-ranked and No. 2-seeded Indiana Tech women’s basketball team defeated No. 23-ranked and No. 6-seeded Bryan College, 76-60, in the first round of the NAIA Division II National Championship, presented by Mercy Medical Center and Seaboard Triumph Foods, in the Liston Bracket on Wednesday morning at the Tyson Events Center.
It is the Warriors first win in the national tournament since the 1995 event and the team is making their second straight appearance, and sixth overall, in the championship.
DeAnn Kauffman led all players with a game-high 20 points (8-14 FG) while Rachel Bell scored a career-high 16 points (8-11 FG) while adding five assists, four rebounds and two blocks. Iowa City native Bella Lozano-Dobbs all hit a career-high in scoring with 12 points. Tech got a pair of double-doubles from their posts as Keanna Gary notched her 22nd of the season with 11 points and 15 rebounds while Kendall “Steady Eddy” Knapke had 10 points and 10 rebounds to record her third double-double of the year.
The Orange and Black started off the game on an 11-0 run and forcing the Lions to call a timeout with 4:45 left in the first quarter. The Warrior defense was working early in the first game of the National Championship as they missed their first six shots from the floor and forced six turnovers from the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament and co-regular season champions. Bryan would get into the scoring column right out of the timeout off a jumper from Karli Combs, but an old-fashioned three-point play by Isis Parker started a 7-0 for Tech and the Warriors ended the quarter leading 23-7.
The Lions found their offensive game in the second quarter as they went on an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to 25-18 with 5:46 left in the opening half and held the Warriors scoreless for a 4:12 stretch in the first part of the quarter. Tech got back on track with a triple from Lozano-Dobbs that sparked a 19-6 run to close the half and give them a 44-24 lead at the break.
Bryan came roaring back to start the second half though, putting the stops on Tech for 4:20 scoreless drought while going on a 24-2 run over the first 5:10 of the third quarter. A three-pointer from Haley Cook though, playing on a torn ACL suffered in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Tournament Semifinals, put the Warriors up by 11 coming out of a timeout and held off another run in the quarter from the Lions to hold a 56-44 advantage after 30 minutes of play.
Bryan cut the lead down to eight points with 7:46 to play in the game, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the contest as the Warriors used an 11-4 run to push the lead to 74-58 with 1:56 on the clock and took the opening game of the tournament by a final of 76-60.
Tech continues their postseason run on Friday as they will take on No. 8-ranked University of Jamestown, the second-seed in the Liston Bracket. Tip-off is set for 9:30 a.m. EST from the Tyson Events Center.