Broncos advance behind Farmer's 20

The Hastings College women's basketball team receive instructions from head coach Jina Douglas, March 8, 2018 at the NAIA-II tournament in Sioux City, Iowa (KHGI)

It was a grind it out kind of game for the Hastings College women's basketball team as it picked up its first win at the NAIA DII Women's Basketball National Championship in three years by defeating Lawrence Tech 57-49 on Thursday afternoon.

The Broncos could not have asked for a better start as Shandra Farmer and Holly Hild drained 3-pointers for the early 6-0 lead. Rachel Jelden then connected on back-to-back buckets followed by a layup from Mackenzie Willicott as Hastings opened up a 12-0 lead.

But then, fouls would begin to mount up as the flow of the game began to change quickly

Head Coach Jina Douglas talked about the fast start and the quick foul trouble, "The fast start helped a lot and then Shandra got two fouls and Rachel got two fouls and that kind of shifted things a little bit," Douglas continued. "Usually we try to have at least one of them on the floor at all times but when both of them sat out, I was just hesitant to put either back in the way they were calling the game but we kind of survived it. They made a run, survived it, put them back in here and there and then kind of got a little run going in the second half."

With Farmer and Jelden stuck on the bench, the Blue Devils cut the deficit to 10 at 15-5 after the first quarter and that came on no field goals and five free throws. Lawrence Tech made a strong push in the second quarter cutting the Bronco lead to just two at 18-16 before Farmer drained another 3-pointer. Hastings would hold on to the lead at 27-22 at halftime.

The Blue Devils would keep things close until late in the third quarter when Willicott connected on two free throws followed by another Willicott bucket off the Taylor Menke feed gave Hastings the 40-33 lead heading to the 4th.

Farmer and Willicott get the Broncos off to yet another great start in the 4th with Farmer draining another three and Willicott scoring from the low block as Hastings now led 45-33 forcing a Lawrence Tech timeout.

The Blue Devils would only manage to get the game back to within six points one time on the 4th before HC won by eight.

"Kind of what you would expect from two teams that give up 57 and 53, not a real pretty game out there but we'll take it," Douglas said with a smirk. "We were trying to zone press them and then go back into a zone, man them some and in the fourth we just went straight man to try and slow them down a little bit so I thought defensively we were pretty good."

Farmer led all scorers with 20 points on 5-of-15 shooing and 4-for-10 shooting from behind the arc while being perfect at the line at 6-for-6.

Farmer talked about the adjustments the team had to make throughout the game, "Going from the GPAC refs to here, it's a little adjustment and we knew that coming in that you never know what it's going to be like so when we had those first few calls," Farmer said. "You kind of have the feel of what they are going to do. Just have to buckle down, relax, layoff a little bit and get the defensive stops that you can."

With losing her first two games up here in Sioux City, Douglas was just happy to get a win here in the Tyson Events Center, "My first two years here we lost in the first round so to actually get a win, I think it says a lot about us and where we are headed as a program," Douglas continued. "The seniors, when they were freshman, they made it to the final four so you don’t expect to get to the final four every year but you expect to win a game or two so I’m happy for them and I’m happy for our program to get a win down here."

Willicott finished the game with 11 points and eight boards on 4-of-8 shooting. Gabby Grasso had a solid game off the bench with 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting while pulling down six boards.

The Broncos are No. 2 in the country for a reason in defensive scoring as the Blue Devils shot just 22 percent from the floor

Hastings improves to 25-6 and will be back in action Friday March 9 and will take on two-time defending national champion Marian with tip-off set for 7:00 p.m. in the Tyson Events Center. Marian defeated St. Thomas (FL) 70-66 in the opening round.

Courtesy Hastings College Sports Information

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