Women's Game Recaps #83 - 3/26/19

St. Anselm’s first visit to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight yielded a hard-fought battle but the Hawks, the #7 seed in Columbus, Ohio, fell to #2 seed Southwestern Oklahoma, 71-61. For much of the game St. A’s trailed but it wasn’t until the last few minutes that the higher seed was able to wrest control for keeps. Both teams had their moments in the first half. The Lady Bulldogs scored first but a 7-0 run handed St. Anselm its largest lead of the game at 7-2. The Hawks led 9-4 when SWOSU unleashed a 10-0 spurt led by Bethany Franks (five points) to go ahead, 14-9 (1:29). A quick 10-2 answer from the Hawks bridging the first and second quarters put them back ahead, 19-16, early in the second stanza. Michaela Martin’s six points off the bench proved central to the Hawks surge but it didn’t last. Shannon Ryan (12 points and 7 boards in the first half) tied the game at 23 with 6:00 to go but the Lady Bulldogs went on an 8-2 jaunt to assume a 31-25 lead (3:22), the largest of the half for either unit and one they never lost. Southwestern Oklahoma, on top 34-31 at the break, held the lead mainly by single digits for the duration of the third quarter, but an 8-0 spell extended it to 48-38 with 4:15 left. St. Anselm stayed in touch and managed to whittle the gap down to 54-48 after three quarters. The contest remained in the balance through the first half of the last frame and St. A’s, after a Ryan basket with 4:47 to go, was within a pair at 56-54. Their resistance broke there, however, and the 34-1 Lady Bulldogs ripped off a 15-2 explosion to pull away (71-58 with 57 seconds left). Franks hit a trey to start the run and the Hawks went cold at the other end, missing seven of their next eight shots. SWOSU kept their poise and made their free throws to salt the game away and advance to the semifinals against Indiana (PA). Shannon Ryan (18 points, 13 rebounds; 7-12 FG) and Payton Steinman (17 points, 9 boards) led the Hawks effort while SWOSU featured a balanced attack which included Franks (18 points, 9 caroms, 9 steals), Hailey Tucker (17 points, 8 rebounds), Hayden Priddy (15 points) and Tyra Aska (11 points, 6 rebounds). The Hawks shot better overall (40%-35% FG) but neither team was sharp from three-point land (SWOSU 6-29; St. Anselm 2-11 3FG). St. Anselm hauled in 17 more rebounds (52-35) but gave it all back and then some by committing a grisly 31 turnovers. The Lady Bulldogs turned it over only thirteen times and out-paced the Hawks in points-off-TO’s by a massive 30-4 count. St. Anselm ends the season 22-10 but with the regional title run in their memory banks and many of their rotation players returning, they seem primed to contend again next winter.