BALDWIN CITY – A last-second 3-pointer from Ali Taff before the halftime buzzer sent the No. 13-ranked Raven Women's Basketball team into the locker room with a upsets on their minds against top-seeded and No. 8-ranked Baker University in the Heart Postseason Tournament Championship Game.
Benedictine (24-8) was able to maintain their lead through the third quarter but a 12-2 run by Baker (29-4) allowed the Wildcats to seize the game's momentum away from the Ravens en route to a 64-51 win.
Baker used a 46.2 percent shooting effort in the firts quarter to take a four-point lead over Benedictine heading to the second quarter.
The Wildcats pulled ahead by as much as six points in the second quarter but could never pull away from the Ravens. Benedictine outscored Baker 8-1 over the final five minutes of the second quarter to erase their deficit and take the lead into the half after Taff's 3-pointer. The Ravens converted on 58.3 percent from the floor in the second quarter. They also went 2 for 3 from beyond the 3-point arc and converted 5 of 6 at the free thrown line. Defensively, Benedictine held Baker to just four second-quarter field goals as they outscored the Wildcats 21-15 in the quarter.
The two teams combined for 19 third-quarter points as neither team was able to find an offensive rhythm and headed into the fourth quarter, the Ravens were still on top, this time by a point, 39-38.
Baker connected on their first 3-pointer of the fourth quarter 30 seconds in, sparking their offensive run. The Wildcats not only erased their third-quarter deficit on the first conversion of the fourth quarter, they built as much as an 11-point lead before Benedictine made it's first points of the quarter on a pair of free throws from Lexie Villegas with just under seven minutes left to play.
The Ravens got an offensive spark late in the fourth quarter from Haylee Beard as she scored six straight points for the Ravens but Benedictine but their slow start to the quarter proved to be too much to overcome.
Serena Parker led the Ravens with 13 points as she went 9 of 10 at the free throw line. Kristen Murphy finished with 10 points, scoring eight in the second quarter to help spark the Ravens to their halftime lead. Taff finished with eight points while Beard added seven.
The Ravens now turn their attention on Wednesday's NAIA Div. I Women's Basketball Selection Show at 7 p.m. (CST) on the NAIA's YouTube page.