Lady Blues into MIAA tourney finals with win over NWMSU

Washburn SID

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The 10th-ranked Washburn Lady Blues advanced into the MIAA tournament Championship game with an 80-66 win over Northwest Missouri State on Saturday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium. Washburn will take on Central Missouri at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Washburn (25-3) never trailed en route to its 12th consecutive win.

The game started off slowly with both teams coming out cold. Brette Ulsaker put Washburn on the board with a pair of free throws at the 17:16 mark. The Lady Blues scored the first six points of the game before the Bearcats (14-15) scored four quick points to pull within a pair with 15:22 to go in the half.

The lead was three when Washburn went on a 16-6 run to open a 13-point advantage at 25-12 with 10:02 to play in in the opening stanza. The lead never dipped below 10 the rest of the way and Washburn led 41-26 at the break.

The lead was 14 in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Lady Blues blew the game open with a 16-8 run that put them up by 22 with 9:42 to play in the game. Every time Northwest Missouri would try to make a run the Lady Blues had an answer as they cruised to the 14-point win and clinched a spot in the MIAA tournament championship game for the second straight year and the sixth time in the eight years the tournament has been played in Kansas City.

Hope Gregory led Washburn with 17 points and also pulled down nine rebounds. Ulsaker was the only other Lady Blue in double figures with 14. Amanda Fessenden and Laura Kinderknecht had nine points apiece, while Dayna Rodriguez and Rose Hammond had eight each for the balanced Washburn attack. Alyssa Mullen pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

Washburn shot 38 percent for the game, 27-of-71 and were 12-of-31 from beyond the arc for 39 percent. The Lady Blues out-rebounded the Bearcats 54-40 and had 21 assists to five for NWMSU.

Abby Henry led Northwest Missouri with 25 points and Gabby Curtis chipped in 11 for the Bearcats who shot 28 percent, 18-of-65, for the game. NWMSU was 4-of-19 from three-point range for 21 percent, but were 26-of-35 from the charity stripe for 74 percent.