INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The No. 19-ranked Raven Women's Basketball team got 21 points off their bench on Friday against No. 1-ranked Freed-Hardeman University and a career-high 16 points from Jordan Kramer but in the end, four Lions scored in double figures to hold off a second-half surge to earn a 69-62 win in the second round of the 2015 NAIA Div. I Women's Basketball National Championship.
Benedictine (26-9) outscored Freed-Hardeman (34-1) in the second half but it wasn't enough for the Ravens to overcome their nine-point halftime deficit to the Lions.
A 5-0 start for the Lions was answered by a 7-0 run for Benedictine that was fuelled by Kramer.
The first six minutes of the game saw three ties and four lead changes before Freed-Hardeman went on a 15-5 run to turn a tie at 12 into a 10-point advantage midway through the first half.
Benedictine cut their deficit down to seven points late in the half on a 3-pointer from Claire Pedulla but Freed-Hardeman answered to pull back ahead by nine at the break.
The final 20 minutes would mirror a prize fight as the Ravens defense, which limited the Lions offense to eight-second half field goals, allowed Benedictine to gradually work back into the game.
Benedictine pulled within five points three times in the second half but couldn't get any closer as Freed-Hardeman's offense was able to answer just enough to keep the Ravens at arm's length.
The Ravens held a 10-7 advantage in second-chance scoring and a 11-5 advantage in points off turnovers as they forced nine Lion turnovers.
Chayla Rutledge finished with 11 points to go along with Kramer's efforts. Taff added eight while Pedulla led a balanced scoring effort off the bench, which saw four players finish with at least four points, with six points.
The 26 wins for the Ravens is the fourth-best single-season win total for the Ravens under head Chad Folsom.