National Championship -- First Round
Seeded #3 in the National Tournament, the Lady Knights drew #6 Trinity Bible College from Ellendale, North Dakota in the first round of the tournament, scheduled for 8 PM on the first night of the tournament. After a ceremony in which all of the teams were presented at center court, KCU and the Lions of Trinity went to work.
Trinity controlled the opening tip, but turned the ball over before getting a shot. However, after a miss by KCU, Trinity put the first points on the board. Tanya Bowens hit to tie things up, then Trinity dropped a long 3 to take the lead. Jessica Marshall answered with a triple of her own, and KCU began to find their rhythm. The Lady Knights took a lead at 9-7, and stretched it to 13-9. Sharonda Jones caught fire early, and had 12 at the half, at which point KCU was up 34-25.
Tanya Bowens picked the pocket of the Trinity point just after the in-bounds to start the second half, and the KCU defensive pressure seemed to shake the Lions. KCU soon held a lead of around 20, and maintained that until just before the end of the game. The final score was KCU-78, TBC-57.
Coach Arnett has this to say after the game: “ I was very impressed with the play of Sharonda Jones. She has been ill, but played through it tonight. She finished with 24 points and 7 rebounds.” “Tanya did a great job of protecting the ball, and she hit for 18, and that is why she is the National Player of the Year again. Defense was to be our focus in the second half, and Tanya’s steal to open the second half got us started.”
Jana Glick was strong off the bench, with 9 points and 6 boards in just 8 minutes of playing time. Monica Stevens had 8 points, and was a perfect 3-3 from the floor and 2-2 from the line. Rachel Chester went to the foul line several times in the final minutes, and was 7-10 from the stripe. The team out-rebounded Trinity 33-21, shot .571 from the floor, and had 18 assists.
KCU next meets Manhattan Christian College, the #2 seed, at 8 PM on Friday evening.