58
VS
87
(RV)Valley City State
(5)Southeastern College
VCSU's Lexi Lennon trys to pass out of a double-team Thursday at the NAIA National Tournament.
VCSU's Lexi Lennon trys to pass out of a double-team Thursday at the NAIA National Tournament.
Women's Basketball - Thu, Mar. 9, 2017
Final1234F
Valley City State (N.D.) 24-91023131258
Southeastern (Fla.) 27-01719321987
Mar. 9, 2017
Sioux City, IA
Attendance: 468
Valley City State (N.D.)Indv. LeadersSoutheastern (Fla.)
#24 Georgia Williams - 18Points #21 Sarah Green - 15
#13 Lexi Lennon - 9Rebounds #20 Christin Strawbridge - 11
2 Players (#15,#24) - 3Assists #00 Bailey Hooker - 5
Valley City State (N.D.)Team StatisticsSoutheastern (Fla.)
36.9% (24 - 65) Field Goals % 55.7% (34 - 61)
29.6% (8 - 27) 3 Point Field Goals % 55.6% (10 - 18)
50% (2 - 4) Free Throws 47.4% (9 - 19)
27Rebounds 48
13Assists 22
8Turnovers 10
42nd Chance Pts 17

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – The only unbeaten team in the country was just too good for VCSU Thursday morning.

Valley City State's run at the NAIA National Tournament lasted just one game as the Vikings ran into the hottest team in the country, No 5-ranked Southeastern University. The Fire broke open a tight game with a 22-5 third-quarter run, downing the Vikings 87-58 in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament.

VCSU trailed just 36-33 at the half, but Southeastern outscored VCSU 32-13 in the third quarter to break the game open and earn the victory. Southeastern (27-0) moves on to the round of 16 on Friday. VCSU ends its season with a 24-9 overall record, making the fourth national tournament appearance in program history.

Georgia Williams scored VCSU's first eight points as the Vikings and Fire played to an 8-8 tie through the first six minutes of play. The Fire followed with a 9-0 run to build their biggest lead of the first quarter at 17-8. VCSU's Rebecca Eberle beat the first-quarter buzzer inside to pull the Vikings within 17-10 at the quarter break. VCSU shot just 24 percent in the first quarter (4-17) while the Fire went 7-for-14 from the field.

VCSU's offense started to come alive in the second quarter as the Vikings went 9-for-16 from the field, including a 5-for-9 quarter from 3-point range. Kennedy Henningsgard and Lexi Lennon both knocked down a pair of 3's in the quarter, with Lennon's last 3 beating the halftime buzzer and pulling the Vikings to within three points at 36-33. The Fire led 36-27 with 42 seconds left in the quarter, but Williams nailed a 3 with 34 seconds left and Lennon followed with her buzzer-beater to make it tight at the half.

The momentum did not carry over to the second half though. The Sun Conference champions showed why they are unbeaten this season and had won their last 10 games by an average of 33.6 points. The Fire opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run, building a 49-35 lead, and then extended the run to 22-5 for a 58-38 lead with 3:09 left in the quarter. Southeastern ended the quarter with a 68-46 advantage, outscoring VCSU 32-13. The Fire shot 12-for-18 in the quarter, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

The Vikings would get no closer than 20 points in the fourth quarter. Only five teams this season have finished the game within 20 points of Southeastern, and the Fire have had only had two games within 10 points.VCSU actually beat the buzzer at the end of each of the first three quarters. Rebecca Eberle hit shots inside at the end of the first and third quarters, while Lennon nailed a 3 at the halftime buzzer.

Eberle was one of four Vikings to scored double-digits, giving VCSU 10 points off the bench. Senior guard Georgia Williams finished her career with a strong game, posting 18 points and knocking down four 3's. She finishes her career as the all-time leader in 3-pointers at VCSU, making 185 throughout her career.

Lexi Lennon had 10 points and nine rebounds in the loss, and Kennedy Henningsgard added 10 points off the bench. The Vikings shot 37 percent overall (24-65), 30 percent on 3's (8-27) and went 2-for-4 at the free throw line. After going 7-for-15 from 3-point range in the first half, the Vikings were just 1-for-12 in the second half.

Southeastern University shot 56 percent for the game (34-61), including 63 percent in the second half. The Fire went 10-for-18 on 3's (56 percent) and were 9-for-19 at the free throw line. Sarah Green had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Southeastern players in double figures. Alyssa Ramos added 14 points.

VCSU's 24 wins this season tied the school record set by the 2012-13 team, which finished with a 24-8 record and also lost in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament. Valley City State graduates three seniors from this year's squad: guards Georgia Williams, Nisja Bass and Sara Schwanke.