MO State HS Sports

Cougars Edged by Wayland Baptist in NAIA Opening Round

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Seward, Neb. – The No. 6 seed Columbia College women’s basketball team had its season come to an end with a 66-62 loss to No. 11 seed Wayland Baptist University Friday in the opening round of the 2024 NAIA National Tournament Friday at Friedrich Arena in Seward, Neb. 
Wayland Baptist improved to 23-8 with the win, while Columbia had its nine-game winning streak snapped and fell to 27-5. Wayland Baptist, No. 3 seed, and No. 7 ranked Concordia University will face off on Saturday, March 16 at 4 p.m. in the NAIA second round.
Mallory Shetley led the Cougars with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Abby Backes added 10 points and six rebounds and Lexi Miller had nine points off the bench. The Cougars shot 31.8 percent (21-66) from the field in the loss, and hit just 9-of-35 from three-point range.
Columbia started slowly, missing its first eight shots from the field with four turnovers but trailed just 5-0 in the opening six minutes. Shetley connected on the Cougars’ first bucket of the game with 3:44 left in the first.
The Cougars trailed 13-11 after the first quarter, connecting on just 1-of-10 from three-point range as Shetley had six points.
Miller came off the bench to connect for a three-pointer to give the Cougars its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 9:12 left before half.
Wayland Baptist went on an 8-0 run to gain a 22-16 lead, but three-straight threes from Allison Stiers, Sydney Reddin and Lexi Miller got Columbia the lead back to 25-22.
Lexi Miller led the Cougars with nine points in the first half on three from beyond the arc as Columbia held a 30-29 advantage. Columbia hit 6-of-23 from three in the first half.
Columbia extended the lead to three (36-33) on a free-throw by Mya Miller, and held onto a three-point advantage (44-41) after a pair of free-throws by Shetley. Wayland Baptist scored the final four points of the third quarter to take a 45-44 advantage.
Wayland Baptist extended its lead to 58-52 with less than five minutes to play, but Backes responded with back-to-back threes to trim the lead to 61-59 with 3:16 to play. A lay-up by Allison Stiers cut the lead to two (64-62) with 1:41 left, but that would be as close as the Cougars would get.
Linda Brice (19 points) and Megan Nestor (19 points, 18 rebounds ) scored in double figures for Wayland Baptist, who was limited to 32.8 percent (21-64) shooting from the field in the loss. The Flying Queens outrebounded Columbia 50-41 and had a 28-14 advantage in points in the paint.
NOTES: Columbia and Wayland Baptist met for the first time since 2004 and for the second time in school history … The Cougars made their 20th all-time appearance in the NAIA Tournament.

This article is provided by Columbia Cougar Athletics