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SIOUX CITY, Iowa—A monster surge in the second quarter gave Southeastern everything it needed to advance to the NAIA Division II Women’s National Championship semifinal round for the first time in program history.
Southeastern (30-2) outscored Antelope Valley 25-8 in the second 10 minutes, and came away with a 75-60 win.
During the second quarter, the Fire converted nine of their 17 field goal attempts (52.9%), which included a 3-for-6 effort from 3-point range. That was also the quarter Marlena Schmidt scored eight of her 11 points.
“We tightened down on the scout that we had,” said coach Tim Hays, who earned his 200th win. “In the first quarter we were a little dazed and lackluster in some areas, and in the second quarter I think we really nailed what we wanted to do defensively, which turned into momentum offensively.”
Jaycee Coe was another beneficiary of the new momentum in the second quarter, converting two of her four 3-pointers in the game, and scoring six of her team-high 16 points in the second.
“I feel like it was rebounding,” said Coe of the key to the second. “We started putting bodies on people, and we started executing on offense which really helped.”
The Fire trailed by four with 1:14 left in the first, but a basket by Schmidt and a pair of free throws by Halee Printz tied the game at 13 after a quarter of play.
An 8-0 run that lasted nearly three minutes helped the Fire take a 14-point lead (33-19) with 1:35 left, then a 3-pointer by Coe and a layup at the buzzer by Printz gave the Fire a 38-21 advantage at the break.
The third quarter saw the Fire go 7-of-16 from the field and outscore UAV (27-6) 23-20.
“I don’t think there could be a better situation to get a milestone win like that,” said Hays of his 200th win. “There have been so many teams that helped us get here. I’ve been very fortunate to have some incredible girls in our program.”
The Fire take on defending champion Dakota Wesleyan on Monday at 9:05 p.m. Eastern in the semifinals.
“Both are very good teams, so part one would be playing a great ballgame and a complete ballgame, and not a one-quarter ballgame that sometimes we get away with,” said Hays. “We just know whoever it is, we’re going to give them our best shot.”