The Washburn women’s basketball team ended the second quarter on a 13-3 scoring run to take the lead and never looked back as the No. 7 seed Ichabods upset the No. 2 seed and No. 15 nationally-ranked Central Missouri Jennies on Wednesday evening in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals, 63-55.
The Ichabods (12-11) will travel to Hays, Kan. to take on the No. 3 seed Nebraska-Kearney in the MIAA Tournament semifinal on Saturday at 4 p.m. Central Missouri (19-4) will have to wait until Sunday evening to find out its NCAA postseason fate.
On the first possession of the game, Central Missouri’s top-scorer and rebounder, Nija Collier, was called for an offensive foul and then again at the 6:13 mark, forcing her to sit out the remainder of the quarter and much of the first half. Hunter Bentley hit back-to-back three-pointers in the final minute and a half of the first quarter to keep the game within two points, 10-8, in favor of the Jennies.
The second quarter was back-and-forth scoring until a layup by Mackenzie Gamble ignited a 13-3 scoring run over the final 3:30 of the opening half to send Washburn into the break in front, 27-21.
After scoring just four points in the first half and all occurring in that late scoring run in the second quarter, Gamble was responsible for 14 of Washburn’s 21 points in the third quarter as she made 5-of-7 from the field with four three-pointers. Central Missouri made 1-of-2 at the charity stripe in the final seconds of the third period to trail Washburn, 48-40.
Holding a 10 point lead with 6:36 left in regulation, Washburn found itself in a scoring drought over the next nearly four minutes while Central Missouri chipped away at the deficit with a 6-0 run. With 1:15 remaining and Washburn leading 56-51, the Jennies had a chance to make it a one possession game, but a steal by Macy Doebele was exactly what the Ichabods needed and the Jennies were forced to foul to stop the clock. The final points for both teams were on free throws as Washburn went 7-for-8 at the line to hold on for the upset victory.
Washburn held Central Missouri to its lowest shooting percentage of the season at 29.1 percent (16-of-55) while the Ichabods made 22-of-52 from the field for 42.3 percent. The Jennies made 11 more trips to the free throw line and were 18-of-25 and the Ichabods converted on 11-of-15 freebie attempts. On the glass, UCM out-rebounded WU, 37-35, and pulled down 15 offensive boards that turned into 21 points.
Just five Ichabods scored in the game, but that would be enough as four finished in double-figures. Bentley led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Gamble tallied 18 points and made 7-of-13 from the field with four triples. Nuria Barrientos had an efficient night shooting, going 6-for-8 from the floor and contributed 13 points. Doebele added 11 points, six boards, and drew eight of Central Missouri’s fouls, including the first two against Collier.
Brooke Littrell led the Jennies with 15 points and 10 rebounds.