Provided by Wayland Baptist Athletics
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Wayland Baptist Flying Queens' season came to an end here Wednesday afternoon when No. 15 Lewis-Clark State College of Idaho prevailed in the first round of the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championships, 85-79.
The game was tied at 50 with 15½ minutes left, but the Warriors scored nine straight points as part of a 23-5 run to take a 73-55 lead. The 18th-ranked Queens put together a late rally, but ultimately ran out of time.
Lewis-Clark State (27-5) advances to the quarterfinals on Friday to take on No. 2 Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), which improved to 33-1 by rolling over Huston-Tillotson of Austin, 85-51. The Flying Queens, making their first appearance at nationals in five years, end their turnaround season with a 20-12 record. It's only the second time in 14 years Wayland reached the 20-win plateau.
The Warriors hit nine 3-pointers, including three by freshman guard Caelyn Orlandi who finished with 25 points. Wayland put in eight 3s, four by freshman Ashlee De La Cruz who finished with 14 points off the bench, two behind Stephanie Afunugo's team-best 16. Christie Mooney added 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Afunugo also had a double-double with 10 boards.
Rounding out scoring for the Queens, Shayla Monreal had nine points, Laura Castillo eight, Angeleigh Davis and Iesha Greer six each, and LaTericka Anderson and Aubrey Pedigo five apiece.
Wayland struggled shooting, hitting just 30 percent from the field (12-of-40) in the first half when the Queens trailed, 42-37. It got better in the second half, but not much as Wayland wound up shooting 34 percent.
Lewis-Clark State, which besides Orlandi's 25 points got 14 from junior Brittaney Niebergall and 11 from junior Tanis Fuller, shot 39 percent from the field and a sparkling 88 percent (30-of-34) from the free-throw line. Wayland made half as many foul shots (15-of-22, 68 percent).
The Flying Queens held a commanding 57-41 lead in rebounds, including 27 offensive boards compared to just nine for the Warriors. Wayland turned the ball over a dozen times, one less than LCSC.
The loss is Wayland's third straight in the first round of the national tournament, having also bowed out early in 2004 and 2009. The Queens' last national tourney win came in 2003 when they reached the Elite Eight. With 21 tournament appearances, Wayland now is 25-21 all-time at nationals.