Winona Lake, Indiana—Christina Carlis led all scorers with 13 points while Karly Stache and Nikki Wood tacked on 10 points a piece leading the Lady Crusaders to a 64-51 win over the Bluefield College Rams in the opening round of the NCCAA National Championship Tournament.
Whitney Smith was one point shy of a double-double scoring nine points and collecting 12 rebounds. Forward Erin Gray had a big day on defense for NGU registering 4 blocks while collecting nine rebounds. The Crusaders jumped out to an early lead during the first round game leading by as many as 18 points in the first half.
The lady Crusaders kept applying pressure in the second half extending their lead to 31 (49-18) with 14:18 left in the game. The Rams showed a great deal fortitude however as they started to chip away at the North Greenville lead. The Rams pulled to within nine of NGU with 3:29 left on the heels of a 29-4 run.
The Crusaders responded outscoring the rams 10-6 in the closing minutes. “I think our girls played extremely well the first 30 minutes of the game, probably some of the best basketball we have played,” said Jayne Arledge. “We had some problems the last few minutes but it was good win.”
With the win the Crusaders advance to winners bracket and will take on Ecclesia College at 5pm. With a second win the Crusaders will advance to the National Championship game played Saturday evening at 5pm.