EOU women fall to Davenport in quarterfinals
By JASON COWLEY / Sioux City (Iowa) Journal
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Karli Harris and the Davenport women’s basketball team are back in the Final Four.
And Eastern Oregon nearly stopped them.
Harris, a 5-foot-3 senior guard, scored 10 of her 12 points in the second half as the sixth-ranked Panthers defeated third-ranked Eastern Oregon 62-60 in the quarterfinals Saturday of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament at the Tyson Events Center.
Harris spearheaded the second half charge for Davenport, rallying from a 49-37 deficit with 16:27 to play by holding Eastern Oregon to just 11 points.
The Panthers held their breath in the final seconds as the Mountaineers had an opportunity to win the game but Brooke Randall’s corner three-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
“Coach really challenged me at halftime and the whole team really to do what we’ve been doing all year, just get to the basket, get to two feet, score around the rim and play our game,” said Harris.
“Coach challenged us more on the defensive end to really step up and lock up they’re shooters.”
Eastern Oregon went cold offensively in the second half after building the 12-point lead as the Mountaineers scored just 21 points in the last 20 minutes.
“They’re hands down a great team, probably the best guards we’ve played all year,” Harris said. “Once we really took it upon ourselves to lock up and keep them in front, they couldn’t really do much.”
Eastern Oregon rained home seven three-pointers in the first half, taking a 39-32 lead into the locker room.
The Mountaineers were 7-for-16 from three-point range in the first half but only hit three times in 11 attempts in the second half.
“We had a tough time putting up points on the board there in the middle of the second half, which allowed them to crawl back in it,” Eastern Oregon coach Anji Weissenfluh said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team, they fought and left it all out on the court.”
Davenport began to chip away at the 12-point deficit by getting into the lane and getting easy baskets, led by Harris, who had the first and last basket in a 14-2 run that tied the game at 51-51 with 8:56 to play.
It was tied twice and Davenport built a four-point lead when Harris connected on two free throws with 1:37 to go. Eastern Oregon cut it to 62-60 on a basket by senior Kelsea Hurliman, who led the Mountaineers with 23 points.
After a Davenport miss, Eastern Oregon had one last chance inbounding the ball from in front of its own bench with eight seconds left, but Randall, who scored 18 points, all in the first half, couldn’t connect from the left corner to win the game.
“This game they did take a lot from Brooke, she plays hard all the time,” said Hurliman. “I just needed to step up knowing it could be that last game, I didn’t want it to be, it was a tough game.”
In the end, the Panthers advance to the schools second Final Four after making it in 2011.
“I got us out of the game in the first half and the players got us back in to the game in the second half,” Davenport coach Mike Williams said. “They took the challenge, you’re going to have to stop them because (our) shots weren’t falling, they stepped up.”