Montana State-Northern's Jacy Thompson and Loyola's Zoie

Montana State-Northern's Jacy Thompson, left, and Loyola's Zoie Miller run after the ball during their first-round game of the NAIA Division I Women's National Basketball Championship at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Thursday.

BRONTE WITTPENN, Gazette staff

Thursday's highlights

• Guard Natalee Faupel scored a game-high 27 points and Montana State-Northern became the third Frontier Conference team in the final 16 by beating Loyola (La.) 60-55. Faupel, who is from Butte, shot 9 of 18 from the field and also grabbed nine rebounds. 

The Skylights (24-8) also received also received 10 rebounds from Sierra Richards. 

Northern led 27-26 at halftime, but took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter. Loyola (26-7) received 17 points from Zoie Miller. 

• A Shawnee State (Ohio) 3-pointer as time expired ricocheted off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded, giving No. 8 William Woods (Mo.) an 88-85 victory over the top-seeded Bears.

The victory marks only the sixth time that a No. 8 seed has defeated a No. 1 seed since the current seeding format was implemented in 2003.

“I’m so proud of everybody that stepped on the floor tonight,” said William Woods coach Dan Chapla. “They contributed in some small way. We’re playing maybe the best offensive team in the country, and they never backed down.”

William Woods (21-11) finished with four individuals in double figures. Jasmine Brown paced the club with 24 points, followed by a 22-point effort from Kaycee Gerald. The freshman from Springfield, Mo., also had a game-high 12 rebounds, good for her second double-double of the season.

Shawnee State's Jonessa Moore recorded arguably the best offensive performance of the tournament so far. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native registered a 2017 championship single-game high and season-best 36 points on 13-of-19 shooting and a 10-for-11 effort at the charity stripe.

• Lyon (Ark.) used a 16-1 fourth quarter run en route to a 71-59 victory over Pikeville (Ky.).

“I thought we got a lot more comfortable as the game went on,” said Lyon coach Tracy Stewart-Lange. “We got our legs under us a little bit and we were much more confident down the stretch, especially defensively. We now have to put this one behind us and we’re excited about extending our season.”

Four players scored in double figures for Lyon (28-5), led by Liz Henderson with 14 points.

• Three players scored in double figures to lead Bethel (Tenn.) to a 70-57 victory over Wayland Baptist (Texas).

“I thought we defended well,” said Bethel coach Chris Nelson. “Our average is 57, and we were able to hold them to 57. We knew that they’d make a run there in the second half, and they did. Overall, I think everyone on our team contributed. Everybody made some big plays.”

Brandi Goodman led Bethel (24-10) and all scorers with 19 points. Shamon Pearson recorded her fifth double-double of the year with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She scored 11 points in the first half.

Wayland Baptist (25-7) has not made it past the first round of the tournament since 2003. The Flying Queens' two leading scorers, Jade Jones and Mai Merket, were held to a combined 13 points.

The Flying Queens were making their 24th all-time appearance at the national championship, which trails only Campbellsville (Ky.) (25) for the most in NAIA history.

• Top-seeded and No. 2-ranked Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), making its fourth consecutive championship appearance and 20th overall, beat William Penn (Iowa), 59-45.

William Penn, making its first-ever championship appearance, gave LCSC — the tourney’s second overall seed — all it could handle in the first quarter. The two teams battled to a 14-14 tie after one quarter.

“It was their defense,” said Lewis-Clark State coach Brian Orr. “We didn’t expect the extended 1-3-1 zone, but more than anything else the way they attacked the offensive glass in the first half.”

A 13-4 second-quarter run gave L-C State (32-1) a lead that it would not lose.

Lauren Johnson led three Warriors scoring in double figures with 14. Cailyn Orlandi scored 12 points, her 25th game this season scoring 10-or-more points.

• Westmont (Calif.), in its 10th consecutive championship appearance and 12th overall, beat LSU Shreveport (La.), 57-52.

“We knew when we got this matchup and started watching film that this was going to be a real challenge tonight,” said Westmont coach Kirsten Moore. “We also knew that a big key was going to be rebounding tonight. They are really dangerous on the offensive glass and we were able to outrebound them by eight — which was huge.”

Westmont (28-4), the nation’s leader in scoring defense, was led by Aimee Brakken with 18 points.

LSU Shreveport (22-10) was led  by Kourtney Pennywell’s 15 points and nine rebounds.

 No. 5 John Brown (Ark.) edged No. 4 Benedictine (Kan.), 74-72, behind the 27 points and career-high six steals of Baily Cameron.

“I think we (John Brown and Benedictine) are so similar — there’s not a lot of difference between the two teams, so I knew it was going to be a close game,” said John Brown coach Jeff Soderquist. 

John Brown’s Cameron hit a 3-pointer with just under two minutes left in the contest, which gave the Golden Eagles (23-8) a 66-64 lead and proved to be the winning basket.

Benedictine was the third of four 2016 semifinal teams to lose in this year’s first round. Only Baker (Kan.) remains in the 2017 field.

• Vanguard University (Calif.) used a balanced offensive attack, led by Hanna Tabron's 15 points, in beating  Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) 66-59 in the late game.

Claire Lamunu contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds to the win, while Tania Uluhea chipped in with 10 points for Vanguard (28-3).

Lindenwood-Belleville, which trailed 47-46 heading into the fourth quarter, received a game-high 20 points from Brianna Mueller.

Top scorers

36: Jonessa Moore, Shawnee State

27: Natalee Faupel, MSU-Northern

27: Baily Cameron, John Brown

24: Jasmine Brown, William Woods

22: Kaycee Gerald, William Woods

20: Brianna Mueller, Lindenwood-Belleville

 
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Billings Mustangs, High School Sports Reporter

Sports writer for The Billings Gazette, covering high school sports and the Billings Mustangs.