DAYTON, TN — The Bryan College Women’s Basketball team woke up Saturday morning with an opportunity to make program history. The Lady Lions took the court in Summers Gym against the University of Pikeville in the championship game of the 2022 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship Opening Round. The winner would punch their ticket to Sioux City, Iowa, and advance to the Sweet 16. Gracee Dishman and Kaitlynn Hennessee combined for 15 of Bryan’s 24 points in the 1st quarter to take the early twelve-point lead. Both teams traded buckets in the second quarter and Bryan went into the halftime locker room up 45-32. The Lady Lions knocked down 9 three-pointers in the half to build their lead.
Pikeville responded with a 16-4 run to the end of the 3rd quarter to tie the game back up at 58-58. In a back-and-forth 4th quarter, the Bears held a 74-72 lead with ten seconds remaining, but Gracee Dishman drove and scored a layup to tie the game and force overtime.
Deandra Luna was the hero of overtime for the Lady Lions as she scored nine points including two three-pointers and three clutch free throws in the final minute to secure the overtime victory with a final score of 90-86. Bryan set a new program record with their 32nd victory of the season.
Gracee Dishman led the team with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Kaitlynn Hennessee finished with 19 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Deandra Luna added 15 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals. Karli Combs tallied 9 points and 5 rebounds. Destiny Kassner and Samantha Russell each contributed 7 points.
The Lady Lions will travel out the Sioux City, Iowa to play in the Sweet 16 of the NAIA National Championship. The No. 4 seeded Bryan will battle the No. 1 seed Thomas More on Thursday, March 17, at 7:00 PM EST.
Follow the Lady Lions on their journey at https://www.bryanlions.com/
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