The Lady Cats were victorious in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, recording a win over Reinhardt University, 81-62.
The Lady Cats gained an early lead and never let it out of their sight. Cass Johnson and Madisen Brethower led the team in scoring with 18 points each. Johnson had a strong night from 3-point territory, making 4 of 5 attempts, and Brethower added two 3’s of her own. Also making a statement was Kelsie Cleeton, who recorded a double-double, with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Cleeton also collected two steals and dished a team-leading six assists. Hannah Wisdom and Lakin Simmerman contributed 8 points, with Shelby Roberts adding 7.
The Reinhardt Lady Eagles put up a good fight on the boards, recording 50 rebounds against C of O’s 46, and Reinhardt freshman Rebecca Cheeks recorded a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds.
The Lady Cats, ranked 7 in the final NAIA DII Women's Basketball Coaches' Top 25 poll, now move on to play Morningside College of the Great Plains Athletic Conference. The Morningside Mustangs will have the advantage of playing in their hometown of Sioux City, IA and head into the competition with a record of 24-8 after defeating Siena Heights (Mich.), 90-73 in the first round of play.
The Lady Mustangs were ranked 11th in the nation in the NAIA DII Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 poll, and they are currently ranked 5th in the nation for most 3-pointers made per game and 7th in both total 3-pointers and total steals. The Mustangs are led by junior Madison Braun, averaging 15.87 points per game, and she is ranked 2nd in the nation for total steals (108), averaging 3.48 per game.
The Lady Cats, on the other hand, rank #4 in total rebounds per game at 44.93 , #5 in total rebound margin, and #6 in assist to turnover ration (1.223). Cass Johnson leads the Lady Bobcats in scoring, averaging 14.8 points per game with a shooting percentage of 42.8%.
This will be the second matchup of the season between the Lady Cats and Lady Mustangs, as Morningside previously defeated C of O, 83-63. Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 pm.
Pictures by Jake Flanders