Frankfort, Ky.- Brooke Barker’s three pointer with 11 seconds remaining gave John Brown University a 65-63 women’s basketball victory over Loyola University New Orleans Saturday night in the NAIA National Championship Tournament at the Frankfort Civic Center.
The Golden Eagles rallied from an 18 point deficit as they outscored the Wolf Pack 23-3 over the final 7:40. Abbie Warren started the run with a pair of free throws and Sierra Shipley followed with a three pointer. Warren added another bucket before Loyola’s Jasmine Brewer stopped the streak of seven unanswered by JBU, converting one of two free throws with 5:41 to play.
Later, Lauren Rogers reduced the lead to single digits with a second chance three pointer to make it 61-52 Golden Eagles. Kortni Barenberg followed with another three pointer to cut it to 61-55 with 4:28 remaining. Shayne Charles responded with Loyola’s last points of the game at the 3:35 mark as the Golden Eagles closed out the contest on a 10-0 run to secure a trip to the NAIA’s Fab Four.
For Loyola (23-12), Janeicia Neely led with 18 points on 7 of 13 shooting from field and 4 of 7 from distance. Brewer closed out her tenure with 11 points and four rebounds. She grabbed a Loyola record 923 rebounds in her career. Caroline Gonzalez tied a career high as she came off the bench to add 14 points, converting 4 of 5 three pointers on the night.
For John Brown (28-7), Shipley led with 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Barenberg added 12 points.
In the first half, Loyola ran out to an 8-0 lead in the opening moments as Charles scored four early points for the Wolf Pack. The Golden Eagles countered with an 11-2 run culminating with Barenberg field goal at the 12:55 mark to give JBU their first lead of the night.
The lead would change hands five more times over the next 12:15. Loyola extended the margin to seven points at 3:56 on a jumper by Meghan Temple. The Wolf Pack closed out the half on a 5-0 run to take a 34-27 lead at the break.
This was the sixth appearance for Loyola in the NAIA National Tournament and third under the direction of Coach Kellie Kennedy. This was the second time the Wolf Pack advanced to the quarterfinals, the first of the Kennedy era. Loyola won the SSAC West Division Championship to secure the automatic bid.
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