JOPLIN, MO – The women’s basketball team came out with one mission—to prove to everyone that the 2013 defending National Champions still had it in them, easily dispatching #2 Ohio Christian University, 77-51, on Thursday evening, in the NCCAA DII National Tournament, in Joplin, MO.
The pace was slow in the opening minutes, but after a 14-8 lead, behind solid defensive play, and good ball movement, Maranatha jumped out to a 20-11 lead on a bucket by freshman guard Julie Roer (Marinette, WI).
The Trailblazers bounced back with a 9-0 run over the next few minutes, but shortly after, senior guard Allison Schultz (Chillicothe, IL) launched a three that vaulted Maranatha back into a 29-24 halftime lead.
Things got ugly for Ohio Christian in the second half, as Maranatha avenged a 67-37 loss, earlier in the season, by throttling the higher seed behind Laci Peterson’s 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and two steals.
Peterson reached 1,000 points on the dot, and shot 44% from the field, while dominating on the boards against a team that had two players listed over six feet.
A team-wide effort saw Schultz post 17 points on 6-11 (55%) shooting from the field, with nine rebounds, and freshman guard Courtney Dunn (Oshkosh, WI) chipping in a huge, 12 points and six assists in 37 minutes.
Maranatha found multiple ways to hurt the Trailblazers, from scoring 20 points off turnovers, to holding a 36-26 edge, but the team simply dominated, forcing Ohio Christian to take outside shots, at which the Trailblazers struggled, at 15 percent.
As a team, Maranatha played disciplined defense that led to a 45-33 edge in rebounds, and had eight steals. The team also hit their free throws, shooting 73% from the charity stripe in the game, and shot a scintillating 57% from the field in the second half.
Maranatha will advance to the semifinals against the winner of #3 Manhattan Christian, and #6 Pensacola Christian College, on Friday, at 8:00 p.m.