Women’s basketball ends magical season with loss to WBU at nationals

The No. 14-seeded OLLU women’s basketball team lost to No. 3-seeded Wayland Baptist University (WBU) 89-68 in the Duer Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round on March 11. The Saints finish the 2021-2022 season 20-11 overall and went undefeated in Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) play at 14-0. The Flying Queens are the No. 8-ranked team in the NAIA.

Head Coach Jillian Flores Bennett commented, “We had a tough matchup against the No. 8-ranked team today. Despite controlling the pace of the game and having more possessions, we just couldn’t score in the second half. Miranda Villegas (JR/Levelland, Texas) had an incredible game. She scored some big buckets for us down the stretch and was a leader on both sides of the ball. The team fought hard until the end and I’m very proud of the resilience they showed this season.”

History

The Saints were 4-6 against the Flying Queens prior to the game. WBU defeated the Saints 78-56 in November.

Basics

The Flying Queens’ offense was too much for the Saints to handle in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. They shot over 50 percent from both the field and the three-point line. The Saints only trailed by five points at the end of the first quarter. Villegas tallied seven points and Natalia Trevino (JR/Laredo, Texas) followed with five. WBU grabbed nine rebounds and hit 9-of-14 shots from the field. The second quarter was also competitive with the Flying Queens outscoring the Saints 20-17. Villegas added nine more points and totaled 16 at halftime. The Saints forced four turnovers in the second frame and trailed 44-36 at the break.

Wayland Baptist continued to shoot well in the third quarter by totaling 22 points behind 56.3 percent shooting. The Saints struggled from the field at 35 percent and the Flying Queens took a 12-point advantage heading into the final frame. Wayland Baptist finished strong by outscoring the Saints 23-14 in the fourth quarter and advanced with an 89-68 win. Villegas and Trevino both had a double-digit game and Emiko Hemphill (SR/San Antonio, Texas) totaled 10 rebounds.

Offensive/defensive standouts

Villegas led the Saints with a season-high 23 points. Hemphill had a team-high 10 rebounds. Trevino finished with four assists.

WBU was led by Jenna Cooper with 22 points. Kaylee Edgemon had a team-high 10 rebounds and added 16 points for a double-double. Cooper led the Flying Queens with seven assists.

Inside the box

OLLU combined for 28-of-78 shooting for 35.9 percent, 3-of-29 from three-point range for 10.3 percent and 9-of-12 from the free-throw line for 75 percent. WBU shot 34-of-62 for 54.8 percent, 10-of-18 three pointers for 55.6 percent and 11-of-16 from the free-throw line for 68.8 percent.

The Saints grabbed 36 rebounds while the Flying Queens totaled 45. OLLU forced 15 turnovers and committed 11.