KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Lady Blues held the Bearcats to just 16 first half points and went on to win their 12th straight MIAA tournament opener, 52-39 Friday afternoon at Municipal Auditorium.
No. 9 Washburn, the top seed in the MIAA tournament, improved to 23-4 this year and 25-3 overall in MIAA tournament games played in Kansas City. The Lady Blues will play the winner of the No. 5 Truman/No. 4 Emporia State game Saturday at 6 p.m. in a semifinal. Ninth-seeded Northwest Missouri ended its season at 15-13.
MIAA co-player of the year Laura Kinderknecht led Washburn with 10 points off 4 of 7 shooting. She moved her career point total to 993 and needs seven more to become the 22nd Lady Blue to score 1,000 points. With five assists, she moved her career total to 307, one behind Jennifer Harris (2004-06) for sixth in school history.
Washburn kept the Bearcats to just 16 first half points and 39 total points, season lows this year against NCAA II opponents. Washburn's all-time low allowed in the MIAA tournament was 36 to Truman in 2006. The Lady Blues shot 39 percent as a team while Northwest Missouri shot 26 percent. Washburn made 4 of 10 3-pointers and the Bearcats made just 3 of 17. Each team shot less than 10 free throws.
Washburn took its first double-digit lead at the 14:26 mark of the second half on a layup from Lavonda McCall that gave Washburn a 32-22 lead. The Lady Blues kept it above 10 points the rest of the way and built it to a game-high 19 points with 2:27 to go after Casyn Buchman scored a basket.
Washburn shot 52 percent in the second half (12 of 23) after opening the game shooting 29 percent in the first half.
The Bearcats opened the game with five straight points and held Washburn scoreless until the 14:58 mark when Lavonda McCall hit a layup on a fast break. A 3-pointer by Kinderknecht at the 8:31 mark gave Washburn its first lead and then after a tie on NWMSU's next possession, George scored in the paint and Washburn led for good.McMullin's jumper at the 3:27 mark made it 22-16, Washburn and neither team scored the rest of the first half.
George ended with eight points off the bench and she led the team with seven rebounds. Dana Elliott hit two 3-pointers for the third time in her career and had eight points and Laura McMullin scored seven.
Washburn won the rebound battle, 39-37 and had 25 turnovers while the Bearcats had 22. Washburn blocked eight shots with three different players getting two each.
Northwest Missouri had two players reach double figures as Maggie Marnin and Tember Schechinger each scored 10. The rest of the team had 19 with 10 of them coming off the bench.
- Washburn is now 37-13 all-time in the MIAA tournament, 17-6 in opening games and 25-3 in games played in Kansas City.
- The Lady Blues move on and are 11-5 all-time in semifinals, 5-1 against Emporia State and 2-0 against Truman.
- Washburn has now kept 15 of its last 16 opponents to 54 points or less. Three of those games came against Northwest Missouri.
- Kinderknecht needs seven points and eight 3-pointers to become the first Lady Blue with 1,000 points, 200 3-pointers and 300 assists.
- The 39 points allowed to Northwest is the second fewest allowed by Washburn in an MIAA tournament game. The Lady Blues gave up 36 to Truman in the 2006 quarterfinal. The MIAA record low is 35.
- The 39 points is the second fewest allowed this year by Washburn afer allowing Benedictine to score 31 on December 3.