Uniontown, PA- #2 Berea began their march towards a national championship today, as they opened play in the 2017 USCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship tournament. They played the seventh seeded Dean College Bulldogs.
Jaime Roberts came out firing on all cylinders, as two three-pointers and a pair of free throws pushed the Mountaineers out to an 8-0 advantage in the beginning minutes of the game. Berea saw their lead move to 15-6 off a layup and three-point basket from Kristen Barnes as 4:43 rolled on the clock in the first quarter. Zacchea Small's layup gave the Mountaineers a 19-11 advantage as the teams went to the second quarter.
Berea took a double-digit lead in the opening seconds of the second quarter as Bri Lanham's three-point jump shot pushed the team ahead 22-11. Berea became a little reckless with the ball, as turnovers on four of their next five possessions allowed Dean College to score six straight points to pull within five points of the lead, 22-17. Small's layup broke the scoring streak but four more points by the Bulldogs made the Mountaineers' advantage just three points, 24-21. Barnes, who led the team in scoring with 16 points, hit a three-point basket to give Berea a six point cushion before a three-point play by Dean College brought them back to within three points, making the score 27-24. A 6-2 run by the Mountaineers which included baskets from Williams and Kiley Barnard to go along with a free throw from Lanham put Berea ahead 33-26 as the halftime buzzer sounded.
An offensive rebound from Nakeisha Greene followed by her layup in the paint opened the scoring in the second half before the Mountaineers saw their lead move back to double-digits off of Williams' layup to make the score 39-28. The next nine points for Berea came via Barnard in a sequence of a three-point basket, a three-point play and then another three-point basket to give Berea a 16 point lead, 48-32 with 2:43 remaining in the third quarter. Lanham's layup and a pair of free throws from Roberts gave the Mountaineers a 52-39 lead as the teams headed to the final quarter.
Back-to-back three-point jump shots from Barnes and Barnard followed by a Barnes layup to begin the fourth quarter pushed Berea's lead over 20 points, as the score moved to 60-39. Barnes' fourth three-pointer of the game made the score 64-44 as 3:04 remained in the game. Greene's layup gave the Mountaineers their largest lead of the game and a margin of victory of 24 points as Berea walked off the court as 70-64 winners.
Barnard (14) and Roberts (10) also finished in double-figure scoring for the Mountaineers. Roberts added five rebounds and four assists to her stat line. Barnes added five rebounds, two assists and a steal to go along with her scoring. Lanham and Greene finished tied as the leaders in rebounds with 11 each, while Lanham also finished with three steals. Berea's defense held the Bulldogs to 23.9% shooting from the field.
The second seeded Mountaineers (20-6) move on to the final four of the tournament as they face the third seed in the tournament, Rochester College. The two teams did not face each other this season but Rochester was one of the teams which competed in the USCAA Classic Berea hosted earlier this season. Tip-off is slated to begin at 1:00 PM on Friday. Find all the information, including live stats and video, by clicking here.