Tabor women outlast Asbury in overtime

Tena LoewenThe Tabor College women?s basketball team secured an 80-73 overtime victory over Asbury (Ky.) in the second round of the NAIA Division II national tournament Friday.

The Bluejays survived an upset-minded Eagle team that came into the game after defeating a No. 2 seed, Saint Francis (Ill.), in the first round. As it was, the Bluejays weathered a late Eagle rally, but forced overtime when Tabor?s leading scorer, Amber Bonham, drained a game-tying three-pointer with 19 seconds left in regulation.

The first quarter ended in a draw, with the teams locked at 14 points apiece. Six Bluejays got in the scoring column in the first quarter, led by Tena Loewen with four points.

Tabor began to settle in to start the second quarter. Aided by three-pointers from Taylor Hurd and Mallory Zuercher in just more than a minute?s time, Tabor enjoyed a 10-3 run in the first 3:05 to take a 24-17 lead. But after that, Asbury went on a 9-3 run of its own to draw within one. The Bluejays again stretched their lead to seven before an Eagle three-point play narrowed Tabor?s lead to 35-31 at halftime.

The Bluejays found their stride after intermission. Kaleigh Troxell scored the first five points to spark a 13-2 burst that put Tabor comfortably in front, 48-33, midway through the period. The Bluejays led by as many as 16, 53-39, and took a 55-42 lead into the fourth quarter.

Tena Loewen scored a traditional three-point play at the 8:22 mark and Kaleigh Troxell made a two-pointer at 6:57 for a 60-48 margin, but then the Bluejays faltered. Tabor went 5:48 without scoring. Asbury, meanwhile, used a 15-0 run to jump in front, 63-60.

Bonham broke the drought with a basket at the 1:09 mark, but the Eagles pushed their advantage back to three with a pair of free-throws with 36 seconds left. Amber Bonham prepares to shoot the game-tying three-pointer late in regulation.

Coach Shawn Reed called timeout, and with 19 seconds left, Bonham drained the game-tying trey to send it into overtime with the teams locked at 65.

Jurnee Reid and Loewen scored in succession to start the extra period, and Tabor maintained the lead. The Eagles trimmed it to 74-73 with 1:08 to play, but the Bluejays made six of their final eight free-throw attempts to nail down the seven-point win.

Bonham led the Bluejays with 19 points. Loewen added 18 and Hurd 12.

Coming?Tabor will face a rematch with Southern Oregon Saturday in the quarterfinals. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

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