Lady Blues advance to second round

Josh Rouse

The No. 1 seed Lady Blues started the MIAA tournament off in stellar fashion Thursday, knocking off 8 seed Southwest Baptist 80-60 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Behind a career high 15 points from Cassie Lombardino, who made her first start of the season in place of senior forward Dayna Rodriguez, the Lady Blues cruised to a 40-23 lead at halftime. Rodriguez was announced as a first team all-MIAA pick Tuesday.

The Blues, ranked No. 10 in the latest WBCA poll, shot a high percentage in the first half, hitting 16-27 from the field and 3-7 from three point territory. They were also perfect on free throws, hitting all five of them. On the opposite end of the spectrum, SW Baptist shot a dismal 29 percent from the field in the first half, making only 9-31 of their shots from the field and clanking off eight of their 11 three point attempts.

Despite coming off the bench and only playing 23 minutes, Rodriguez managed to score 13 points and grab eight rebounds.

The second half wasn’t much kinder to the Bearcats, as they were outscored 40-37 and improved minimally on their shooting accuracy. Trying to spark a comeback, SW Baptist shot 5-18 from the three point line, a percentage of 27.8. The only major improvement was free throw shooting, which went from 2-4 in the first half to 10-16 in the second, a percentage increase of 12.5 percent.

The Lady Blues also out-rebounded the Bearcats 49-27 and had 13 more assists. Defensively, however, SW Baptist had a fine game, accumulating four blocks and 12 steals. Ashleigh Gallio led all Bearcats with five steals.

Washburn will play the winner of the Pittsburg State-Northwest Missouri game this Saturday, March 6, at noon.