Taylor Begins NAIA Tournament with Comfortable Win
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – TU put together a great performance on both ends of the court to advance to the second round of the NAIA Tournament. Taylor pulled off a 37-point victory to extend its winning streak to 21 games, while securing its program record 29th win of the season.
The Trojans (29-4) opened up a lead over Bellevue (23-10) in the first quarter utilizing a 14-0 run in the final three minutes of the period. Kendall Bradbury shined for TU, contributing 13 points with three triples and four free throws in as many attempts.
Becca Buchs netted one of Taylor’s five treys in the first quarter. With the early triple, Buchs set the program record with 104 three pointers on the season. The junior guard has been lethal from long range, leading the NAIA with a 46.6 three point field goal percentage.
Taylor continued its rally in the second stanza, extending its run to 23-consecutive points before the Bruins picked up a couple buckets to end their drought. The TU squad was efficient from the floor, as the team shot 53.9 percent from the field and 70.0 percent from deep through the first 20 minutes of action. Strong shooting and solid defense helped TU to a 45-24 halftime lead.
With 23 points by halftime, Bradbury recorded her 2,800th career point. The senior co-captain was dominant in the first round matchup, posting 32 points and 10 rebounds for her 52nd career double-double. The Crossroads League Player of the Year continued her great year at the charity stripe, going eight-for-eight at the free throw line.
The third quarter saw much of the same from the Trojans, as they opened the half with an eight-point run. The TU advantage ballooned to 40 points in the second half, as the Upland squad cruised to the 85-48 win.
The Purple and Gold outdueled the Bruins in almost every facet of the game, tallying 18 more rebounds, five more assists and three more blocks. The second-seeded Trojans also netted 52.6 percent of their shots from beyond the arc compared to 22.6 percent from Bellevue.
Every Trojan impacted the scoring column, surpassing the team’s season average of 76.8 points per game. Buchs was TU’s second-leading scorer on the morning with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal, while converting on 54.5 percent of her shots from the planks.
Taylor sealed a spot in the second round of the NAIA Tournament for the second-consecutive year with the win on Thursday. The team will take on the winner of No. 10 and third-seeded Tabor (28-3) and No. 23 and sixth-seeded Corban (24-9) on Friday, March 8 at 6:15 pm (ET) for TU’s fourth appearance in the second round of the tournament.
The Taylor athletics department will hold another free watch party in Odle Arena for tomorrow’s second round contest.