The Tabor College women’s basketball team used a solid effort on both ends of the court to roll to an 80-62 victory over Saint Mary Saturday in the KCAC tournament semifinals.
The Bluejays made 57 percent of their shots for the game (27-for-47), including a blistering 68 percent in the first half (19-for-28), while limiting the Spires to just under 40 percent for the game (21-for-53).
Tabor trailed for just 17 seconds of the game early when the Spires led, 3-2. Following a 10-10 tie, however, Tabor scored nine unanswered points to end the first quarter, giving the Bluejays a 19-10 lead. Tena Loewen capped the run with a buzzer-beating, second-chance two-pointer.
The Bluejays shot lights out in the second quarter, making a blazing 73 percent of their field goals attempted (11-for-15), including five baskets in the paint and three three-pointers. Tabor outscored the Spires 7-2 to start the period, and by the time Kaleigh Troxell scored the final five points of a 7-0 Bluejay run, Tabor’s lead had grown to 37-18. By halftime, Tabor led by 20, 45-20.
The Bluejays maintained that margin by playing the Spires evenly through the third quarter. Loewen led Tabor’s effort with six points in the quarter. By the final break, the Bluejays were in front, 62-42.
Saint Mary outscored Tabor, 20-18, in the fourth quarter, trimming what had been a 68-44 Bluejay advantage to 71-56 with a 12-3 run over a 2:27 stretch.
Kyli Webber scored after that, and although the Spires drew within 16 a couple times, Tabor regained a 20-point lead late in the game when Morgan Ediger made four free-throws in 30 seconds. Saint Mary scored the game’s final basket with 19 seconds to go, bringing it to the final, 18-point spread.
With the win, Tabor earned a national tournament berth and will advance to the KCAC tournament finals Monday versus Friends. Game time is set for 8 p.m. at Hartman Arena.
The Falcons come into the game after defeating Kansas Wesleyan in the semifinals, 80-73.
For scores and updates during games, follow Janae on Twitter @janaerem13