FREDRICKSBURG, Va. (3/2/12) – The Kean University women’s basketball team were knocked out of the NCAA Division III tournament, falling to Messiah College, 73-50, in the opening round at University of Mary Washington on Friday evening.
The Falcons (22-5) closed the first half on an 11-3 run to build a double-digit lead and extended the lead to 21 points halfway through the second half to avenge a 20-point loss to the Cougars back in December.
Kean (22-6), who was making its sixth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, fell in the opening round for the first time in its last seven appearances.
The Cougars took an early 4-2 lead in the early minutes, that would be the Cougars’ last lead of the game however, as Messiah used a 9-2 run to take an 11-6 lead at the 13:03 mark. Kean would pull to within 14-13 on a jumper by junior Naimah Clemons and would only trail 17-15 at the midway point of the first half, but Messiah netted five straight points to take a 22-15 lead following a three-pointer and jumper by Nicky Hess.
Junior Kyanne Sager knocked down a pair of free throws to pull Kean to within five points at 24-19, however that would be as close as Kean would get, as Messiah closed the half on an 11-3 run to build a double-digit lead at 35-23 at the break.
Hess hit 5-of-6 shots from the floor and 2-of-3 from long range to lead the Falcons with 12 first-half points. Collectively, Messiah hit 12-of-26 from the floor and 6-of-11 from beyond the three-point arc.
Messiah held the Cougars to just 28.6 percent (10-of-35) shooting. Sager (pictured left) led Kean with six points off the bench.
After Kean’s Simone Smith opened the second half with a layup, Messiah netted six straight points to extend the lead to 16 points at 41-25. Clemons halted the spurt with a layup, however Messiah answered right back with another 6-0 run to push the lead to 20 points at 47-27 with 15:19 remaining.
Messiah extended the lead to as many as 28 points at 67-39 on a three-point play by Dori Gyori with just over five minutes remaining en-route to the 23-point victory.
Gyori had a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds, hitting 4-of-5 from the floor and 9-of-11 from the foul line. Katlyn Vanderhoff added 17 points off the bench, while Hess finished with 14 points.
Clemons finished with 15 points, while senior Danielle McFadden had 11 points in her final game in a Kean uniform.