By Matt Green
No. 5 Lady Hawks (17-12) vs. No. 8 Roberts Wesleyan (15-13)
NCCAA 5th Place Bracket
Thursday, March 14 • 12 pm ET • Winona Lake, Ind.
WINONA LAKE, Ind. -- In arguably the toughest national tournament in NCCAA history, the road doesn't get any easier for the Shorter women's basketball team.
With a national fifth place finish still on the line, the Lady Hawks are prepared for another battle against a team that showed plenty of resiliency in the national quarterfinals.
The Lady Hawks (17-12), seeded fifth, look to bounce back from an opening round loss today at noon ET when they tip off against eighth-seeded Roberts Wesleyan (15-13) in the first round of the 5th Place Bracket at the NCCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship in Winona Lake, Ind.
Shorter, which fell to fourth-seeded Southern Nazarene 79-49 in yesterday's first women's quarterfinal, takes to the floor against the Redhawks, who nearly pulled the upset of the day in an 81-75 overtime loss to tournament top seed and Shorter's Gulf South Conference rival Union University. A win would put Shorter in tomorrow's fifth place game against the winner of third-seeded Cedarville and seventh-seeded tournament host Grace College.
The Lady Hawks are hoping to bounce from a tough offensive outing against a team that gave Union all it could handle.
Shorter shot just 29 percent and made only 2 of 17 attempts from 3-point range against Southern Nazarene. To make matters worse, Shorter shot 7-for-17 from the foul line in an uncharacteristic offensive performance.
Shorter got a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) from Lindsey Crawford and 11 points from Karisma Boykin. The Lady Hawks executed offensivley and generated plenty of good looks against an athletic Southern Nazarene defense, but could not take the lid off the hoop or maintain a brief run in the second half that trimmed a 15-point halftime deficit to nine moments into the final period.
Still, a new day means new life for Shorter, although Roberts Wesleyan surely would love to make good on an upset bid after seeing a great opportunity slip by last night.
Senior forward Brittany Williams poured in 31 points on 11 of 15 shooting and Marissa Sell added 28 for the Redhawks, who forced overtime with Union thanks to a tip-in at the second half buzzer. Roberts Wesleyan was unable to maintain its momentum, but gained plenty of confidence by pushing the tournament's favorite to the limit.
Today's game will be broadcast live on WATG-FM 95.7 The Ridge and via a live webcast that can be accessed by following the link on the Shorter Athletics homepage. Tourbeau Sports is also providing a live video feed for all tournament games. The live video site can be found here.