#16 Women's Basketball Eliminates #17 TWC, Earns First-Ever NAIA Tournament Victory

#16 Women's Basketball Eliminates #17 TWC, Earns First-Ever NAIA Tournament Victory

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Grace Howrigon compiled a double-double worth 14 points and 10 rebounds while three other Siena Heights scorers reached double figures as the 16th-ranked Saints' women's basketball team defeated 17th-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan, 77-59, in an NAIA Tournament first-round game at the Tyson Events Center on Wednesday. The victory was the program's first-ever NAIA Tournament win

Leading scorer Alexxis Knannlein finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jennifer Jasinski added 14 points -- all of which came in the first half -- and seven rebounds. Sierra Calhoun chipped in with 13 points and six rebounds.

The Saints (26-8) took an early lead and never looked back. They took a 43-30 advantage into halftime after shooting 16 of 28 from the field during the first period (57.2 percent).

SHU's smallest second-half deficit was eight points.

The Bulldogs (24-5), who were winners of the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season championship, went on an 11-2 run and trimmed their deficit to 65-56 with 5:04 remaining in the contest.

SHU then answered with a backbreaking seven-point streak, getting a pair of free throws from Jessie Arnold, a 3-pointer from Najee Brazzle, and a 2-point bucket from Knannlein. The stretch widened SHU's gap to 72-56, putting the contest out of reach for TWC.

Tennessee Wesleyan was led by Cody Houck, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Shira Buley added 17 points and six assists.

The Saints will play their next contest on Friday in the Round of 16. They are set to take on No. 1 Saint Francis (Ind.) at 10:15 a.m. CST (11:15 EST). Saint Francis (34-0) defeated Siena Heights, 76-56, on Dec. 1 in the SHU Thanksgiving Tournament championship game. USF then won the Crossroads League regular-season and tournament titles.