No. 18 Taylor Tops MVNU to Earn Semifinal Berth


UPLAND, Ind. – The third-seeded TU women’s basketball team defeated the No. 6 seed Mount Vernon Nazarene, 78-56, in the Crossroads League Tournament Quarterfinals on Tuesday night at Odle Arena to advance to the semifinals on Friday night.


With the win, Taylor earned a matchup with No. 2 seed Indiana Wesleyan, as the Wildcats downed seventh-seeded Saint Francis, 59-58, in their quarterfinal contest.


Kendall Bradbury scored the first bucket of the game and the first six points of the game for the Trojans, and Taylor never trailed in the quarterfinal win.


TU led by six, 19-13 at the end of the first quarter and looked like it was going to run away from MVNU in the second quarter, as Taylor held a 35-20 lead after a Bradbury triple at the 4:23 mark.


The Cougars (17-14), however, responded with back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to nine, before Abby Buchs drained a trey to push it back to a double-digit Taylor advantage. Mount Vernon converted back-to-back baskets to end the half, giving the Purple and Gold a 38-30 edge at the break.


MVNU used hot shooting to keep within striking distance in the first half, knocking down 6-of-11 from long distance in the first 20 minutes.


Mount Vernon opened the third quarter with two quick buckets, and the TU lead had dwindled to just four points early in the second half.


Taylor then ripped off a 21-6 burst to inflate the lead to 19, and the Trojans led, 61-43, after three quarters of play.


In the final stanza, TU never allowed the visitors to get closer than 18, while pushing the advantage to as many as 24 points in securing the victory.


The Purple and Gold shot 45.5 percent from the floor and outscored the Cougars, 27-6, in points off turnovers to counter MVNU’s 11 triples on 40.7-percent shooting from beyond the arc.


The quarterfinal victory was the first win for TU in the league tournament since the 2008-2009 season and gives Taylor 22 wins on the season, the most since 2006-2007, when the Trojans posted 23 victories.


Bradbury posted game-highs with 26 points and 14 rebounds to pace Taylor, with Cassidy Wyse adding 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and four steals, while Buchs notched 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.


Josie Cobb produced eight points, four assists and three steals, and Jamie Netzley was a perfect 3-for-3 off the bench for seven points.


18th-ranked and third-seeded Taylor (22-9) advances to the Crossroads League Tournament Semifinals and will play at 15th-ranked and second-seeded Indiana Wesleyan (24-7) on Friday night at 7:00 pm. The winner advances to the Crossroads League Tournament Championship Game to take on the winner of the other semifinal between No. 1 seed Marian (29-2) and No. 4 seed Grace (16-14).