SIOUX CITY, Iowa (March 7, 2019) – The No. 22 Milligan College women’s basketball team suffered from a slow start and fell to No. 14 University of St. Francis, 73-63, Thursday morning in the first round of the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship tournament.
The loss ended another outstanding season for Milligan, which finished with a record of 26-7 (23-3 Appalachian Athletic Conference) and qualified for the national tournament for the eighth time since 1997 and fourth time since 2013. With 26 wins, Milligan posted the highest number of victories in a season since the team went 26-8 in the 1999-2000 season. The Buffaloes also have now won 18 or more games in 13 of the last 14 seasons.
Leaders at national championship
Senior Sarah Robinson, a two-time NAIA All-American and four-time member of the All-AAC first team, led Milligan in the championship tournament loss with 18 points and seven rebounds. She was 7-of-12 from the field, helping Milligan shoot 23-of-48 (47.9 percent) from the field for the game.
Junior Emily Kiser finished with 13 points and went 3-for-6 from the perimeter, helping Milligan shoot 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from 3-point territory for the game. Six other Buffaloes were in the scoring column, including Teal Davis, who scored eight points with three rebounds, and Emma Kate Brown, who scored seven points and added four rebounds and a game-high four assists.
Early lead from St. Francis proves to be difference
Milligan and St. Francis played an even game, 54-54, over the second, third and fourth quarters, but the first quarter proved to be the difference. St. Francis, which led the whole way, jumped out to a lead of 13-4 after a 7-0 run before ending the first quarter ahead 19-9.
Kiser hit a 3-pointer during a 7-0 Milligan run early in the second quarter, and back-to-back threes from Kiser and Cassidy Anderson capped a 10-0 Milligan run in the third quarter. Both runs helped Milligan battle back and cut it to a one-point game, but St. Francis answered each run with a run of its own. The latter occasion saw the Fighting Saints score the next nine points and extend its lead to three possessions, where it remained the rest of the game.
Milligan continued to battle and cut it to seven three times in the fourth quarter but came no closer.
For St. Francis
Kaitlin Aylward led all scorers with 28 points on 8-for-21 shooting. She was 1-for-8 from three and 11-of-14 from the free throw line. St. Francis (24-8) advanced to the NAIA round of 16 for the third time in four appearances at the national championship tournament.
Story and photo courtesy of Milligan Athletics