Biola women’s basketball season ends with loss to William Woods

The Eagles were shut down by the Owls in the opening round of the NAIA championship tournament Wednesday.

Zachary Fu, Writer

The Biola women’s basketball team’s season ended abruptly when they were defeated 77-69 in an upset against William Woods University in the opening round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship tournament Wednesday, March 16. After being upset by Concordia University in the first round of the Golden State Athletic tournament two weeks ago, the Eagles were hoping to bounce back with a win. However, they could not seem to end their outstanding season with a strong finish.

Biola records best season in 30 years

Biola concluded the season 25-7, their best record in 30 years, and a program-best third consecutive appearance in the NAIA tournament. Senior Jessilyn Conicelli led the team for the last time of her collegiate career with her 26th double double with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Senior Christina Barclay also added 20 points and 8 rebounds while junior Emily Drews contributed 9 points, making three of Biola’s five total 3-pointers.

Eagles lead Owls in first half

The game was a tight matchup to say the least. Both teams frequently traded the lead in the first half, with Biola leading as with as many as 7 on a jumper by Barclay with 8:30 into the period. At intermission, Biola led the Owls 36-35.

In the second half, the Owls took the lead and slowly extended it as the period wore on, eventually mounting a 10-point advantage with a little less than a two minutes remaining in the game. The Eagles made one final push, which culminated with a 3-pointer by junior Emily Drews that brought the score to 73-69 with 28 seconds left. Despite their efforts, they were unable to regain the lead.

Biola shoots poorly

When viewing the statistics of the game, it is no surprise that the Eagles lost the game. Biola was actually lucky to still be in the game during the final minutes due to their second worst shooting performance of the season at 35%. The Eagles took 84 shots and only made 30 of them. The Owls’ hard-nosed defense also shut down senior Jennifer French who only had 5 points on 2-13 shooting. They also could not seem to find a way to stop William Woods University’s senior Rachel Baker who poured in a game high 26 points and 13 rebounds for the night. The Owls also had solid performances from senior Jill Sutton who had 18 points and senior Jestine Gerber who added 15. No one else on their team scored more than 4 points.

The Owls won the game at the free throw line. They shot 26-35 from the charity stripe while Biola shot 4-5. William Woods University also sank 9-18 of their 3-point attempts, which only made matters worse for the Eagles.

Team saying farewell to seniors

Biola will lose five seniors to graduation including the reigning GSAC player of the year in Conicelli and French who was named as an all-GSAC team selection.

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