JBU Takes Down Lyon – Win First-Round of NAIA National Championships


jbu wins first round NAIA National Championships

By Nicholas Robinson, John Brown University

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After taking a 36-28 lead into the intermission, the fifth-seeded and No. 19 Golden Eagles (26-7) began the second half on an 10-0 run to build an 18-point lead, 46-28, and never trailed in a 70-53 Round of 32 victory over fourth-seeded and No. 17 Lyon (Ark.) tonight at the Frankfort Convention Center.

The win marks a watershed moment for the women’s basketball program, having lost its three previous tournament games by an average of 18.7 points, as it secured its first-ever victory at the NAIA National Championships. John Brown’s win was also the second-highest margin of victory of any lower-seeded team in the Round of 32. JBU continues to pile onto its record win total this season, besting the 21-win mark set by the 2003-04 team.

The Golden Eagles will now advance to take on top-seeded and No. 1 Vanguard (Calif.) in the Round of 16 at 8:45 p.m. on Friday (March 21). The Lions (27-1) posted the largest margin of victory in the Round of 32, quickly dispatching California State – San Marcos, 97-47.

The loss leaves the Scots (24-9) winless in three trips to the National Championships (0-3). It was the third-consecutive 20-win season for Lyon.

“It was a combination of many things,” admitted head coach Jeff Soderquist on his first tournament victory in 17 years at the helm of the program. “We earned a five-seed, which always gives you a chance to grab a win against an evenly-matched team. We shot the ball very well in both halves and we did an excellent job defensively, it’s the thing that keeps us going.”

That defense held Lyon to the third-lowest offensive output in the Round of 32, in addition to keeping the Scots to just a 1-of-2 mark from the free throw line and a 6-of-25 clip from behind the arc (24 percent). The Scots finished the match shooting an anemic 23-of-58 from the floor (39.7 percent) as the JBU defense forced Lyon into 13 turnovers in the loss.

Four Golden Eagle starters handed in double-digit efforts, led by Kortni Barenberg’s game-high 21 points. Barenberg kicked off the game with a triple from the top of the arc, scoring seven of JBU’s first nine points, leading John Brown to a 40-minute effort having never trailed. She finished 9-of-16 from the field and collected a team-high seven rebounds. Lauren Rogers was nearly flawless from the three-point line, draining 5-of-6 chances, scoring 14 second-half points en route to 19 total. Sierra Shipley contributed 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting while grabbing five rebounds and Brooke Barker contributed 10 points in the victory.

“Kortni was big for us tonight by setting the tone,” added Soderquist, “and Kami [Garrison] came in and got us two big buckets as well. Sierra maybe didn’t have her best shooting night of the season, but once again, the team rallied, distributed the scoring load and we got the job done. Of course Lauren has been huge for us, especially over the last five games or so. She stepped up tonight when we needed her.”

Barenberg controlled the game early as her seven points in the first 2:17 vaulted JBU out to an early 9-2 lead. Rogers’ first triple of the contest pushed the advantage to eight, 18-10, but the Scots battled back, eventually tying the score at 20 with 7:57 left in the period. After a second tie at 22-apiece, Tristan Carrasquillo’s steal prompted a fast-break Barenberg layup before Shipley’s first three-pointer of the game built a five-point cushion, 27-22. At the 3:31 mark and the shot clock winding down, Barker grabbed a loose ball at the right arc and heaved in her lone trey of the evening, pushing the lead to six. Barker continued her scoring pace by finishing off the half with a put-back and a pair of free throws, extending the Golden Eagle lead to eight, 36-28, at the break.

Barker wasn’t done, however, as she opened the second-half scoring with an old-fashioned three-point play, sparking John Brown on a 10-0 run that would create the separation needed to keep the Scots at bay for the remainder of the contest. Barenberg’s fade away was followed by Garrison’s second bucket of the game, making way for the dagger that was Rogers’ second long-range conversion of the contest, ballooning JBU’s lead to 18, 46-28. The John Brown defense took control by keeping Lyon off the scoreboard for the first 6:18 of the second half.

At the 11:35 mark, Rogers pushed JBU’s lead to a game-high 19 points, 52-33, when she nailed back-to-back three pointers from the right arc. Facing an 18-point deficit after Rogers’ fifth triple of the game at 9:11, Lyon rallied on a 12-4 run over the next 3:17. Barenberg responded with her second triple of the game off a feed from Rogers before the duo combined for consecutive field goals after the Scots brought the margin back to 10 for a second time at 4:34, allowing John Brown to finish the contest on a 9-2 run.

The Golden Eagles shot 48.2 percent from the field (27-of-56) and made 9-of-20 3-point attempts (45 percent) in the win. The Scots barely out-rebounded JBU, 34-33, but John Brown made Lyon pay for its 13 miscues to the tune of 11 points. Garrison dished out a game-high four assists, but the Golden Eagles managed just eight total assists on 27 field goals (29.6 percent), a season-low.

Elliot Taylor and Carina Jackson paced Lyon in the losing effort with 15 points each, while Taylor Gaedtke grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

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