Warriors Drop Heartbreaker to Southwestern Christian in NCCAA Opener

Warriors Drop Heartbreaker to Southwestern Christian in NCCAA Opener

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Southern Wesleyan women's basketball led with just a minute to play but Southwestern Christian came back to win 68-66 in the final first round matchup in the NCCAA National Tournament hosted by Grace College.

The Warriors built a 16-point first half lead but ran out of gas in the second half. SWU shot just 33.8 percent from the floor and 32.5 percent from 3-point range. The Warriors made a season-high 13 triples in the losing effort as Chelsie Waters led the team with 26 points and five made 3s. Brooke Strickland added 14 points and four made 3s. Kelsey Wheatle chipped in with nine points and three made treys off the bench.

The Lady Eagles fell behind 25-9 midway through the first half but came back to take an eight-point lead (58-50) with 8:13 to play in the second half. SWU was able to  take a 66-65 lead with 1:02 to play as Waters buried a triple.

After a turnover and an ensuing foul, Andi McGil put the Lady Eagles in front at 67-66 with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to play. Waters missed a jumper inside the final 10 seconds and Grace Hadley made one of two from the line with four seconds to play and seal the win. Hadley finished with a team-high 20 points.

Noelle van Zadelhoff led all players with a career-high 14 rebounds including nine on the offensive end. The Warriors ended the game with 20 offensive rebounds, scoring 13 second chance points. In addition to Waters' 26 points, the junior added eight assists to lead all players. Waters connected on 10 of 22 from the floor in addition to 5 of 13 from long range. Strickland finished the game shooting 5 of 20 from the floor and 4 of 15 from beyond the arc.

The Warriors will have a short turnaround as they take on Grace (Ind.) at 1:45 p.m. on Thursday. The Warriors beat the Lady Lancers in the 7th place game a year ago, 73-72. Grace entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed, losing to No. 3 Bethesda 87-82 on Wednesday.