SALINA, Kan. – The ending wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the beginning for the North Idaho College women’s basketball team.
Williston State provided bookends for the Cardinals’ 2012-13 season, the 21st-seeded Tetons ending the 12th-seeded Cardinals year with a 67-63 upset victory Monday in the first round of the NJCAA Division I national tournament.
In the beginning, the Cardinals defeated the Tetons 58-46 in the first round of a tournament on the North Dakota school’s campus on Nov. 8, 2012, to trigger a 17-0 start.
But NIC stumbled to a 28-5 finish, losing it’s last two games and three of its last four. It was the 16th straight win for Division 11 champion Williston (31-3).
NIC came out of a hot-shooting first half with a 39-35 lead. But the Cardinals couldn’t sustain the 55-percent shooting from the field, which included a 5-of-12 effort from 3-point range, slipping to 26 percent the second half. Meanwhile, the Tetons hit 42 percent of their shots after a 52-percent first half and finished off the Cardinals by hitting 10 of 12 free throws the final 20 minutes.
Williston had a 17-7 margin from the free-throw line and an 11-8 advantage on second-chance points while winning the rebound battle 42-36 to offset NIC’s 8-2 advantage on 3-pointers.
Katie Buskey (19) and Mollie Kramer of Colton (18) combined for 37 points for NIC and Hannah Love (West Valley) added 12 while pulling down six rebounds. Kabri Emerson led NIC on the glass with seven. All are sophomores.
Sophomore Maggie Lorenz led Williston with 20 points and 16 rebounds.