INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Another day, another new step for the University of Pikeville women’s basketball program as it knocked off second-seeded Vanguard (Calif.) 77-57 on Friday in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament.
Just a day removed from winning their first tournament game ever, now the Bears are one of eight teams left in the field.
UPIKE, which now has a program-record 25 wins, advances to the quarterfinals where it will face either No. 1-seed Lyon (Ark.) or No. 5-seed Great Falls (Mont.) at 7 p.m. ET in the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
Aundrea Matchen led the Bears (25-8) with a game-high 20 points, shooting 9-15 from the field and knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Devin Conley was critical in the win as well, making the 3-point line her friend with a 5-of-9 showing to finish with 17 points.
Kandice Porter, in charge of handling the Lions’ tough interior players, joined them in double figures with 14 points and blocked a pair of shots. Prisha Rogers only scored four points, but her nine rebounds and four steals are two of the main reasons UPIKE is moving on.
Vanguard (25-7) got a pair of double-doubles as Melissa Norman had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Claire Lamunu tallied 12 and 12.
After giving up the game’s first basket, the Bears rattled off 11 straight unanswered points, proving they weren’t going to back down from a Vanguard team making its 18h straight appearance in the tournament.
That’s not to say the Lions went down easy, instead making four threes in the first quarter to build a 20-18 lead.
But 25-20 ended up being VU’s largest lead early in the second quarter as UPIKE went on a 12-0 run behind back-to-back threes from Conley and never trailed again, despite the Lions getting within five at the half.
For the majority of the fourth quarter the Bears led by double digits, pulling ahead by as many as 20 points as Vanguard went scoreless for the final six and a half minutes.