ELLENDALE, N.D. -- With their eighth NCCAA regional title in the last 10 years, the Sabercats are heading for NCCAA Nationals once again.
It wasn't easy, as the Sabercats overcame foul trouble and a spirited opponent to capture the region crown with a 58-47 win over Calvary University.
The Sabercats will now await their seeding for the return trip to NCCAA Nationals. Seedings will be announced at mbusabercats.com.
- Result: #2 Maranatha 58-47 #4 Calvary
- Venue: Trinity Bible College
- Location: Ellendale, N.D.
- Attendance: 144
- Record: MBU (19-3), CU (19-10)
The game started with all the expected nerves of the regional title match. Neither team looked comfortable in the first quarter, and neither team broke double digits. After a cagey opening 10-minute bout, the game was tied at nine.
But Maranatha soon settled in after the rough start. Despite running into some foul trouble that forced Callie Morrison to take a break on the bench, the Sabercats put up 19 points while limiting Calvary to 12. Kelsey Johnson stepped up when she needed to, as she led everyone in the first half with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Going into the halftime break, the Sabercats had a seven-point lead at 28-21 and were in for 20 more minutes of hard work to make the national tournament.
The Sabercats were up against it, as Callie, Kelsey, and Karley Johnson all got into foul trouble to have four fouls each by the end of the third quarter. The Sabercats extended their lead regardless, winning the third quarter 17-12 to take a 13-point lead into the final act. Kelsey extended her game total to 17 and a three-point play from Karley ended the third quarter on a high note.
With their home fans behind them, Calvary was persistent in their comeback efforts, but the closest the Warriors could come was just seven points, as the Sabercats managed the game down the line to keep the potential drama to a minimum. Krysten Lawver made herself into a go-to option for MBU, as she scored nine points in the second half to break double digits
MBU Starters: 3- C. Morrison, 12- Ka. Johnson, 13- Ke. Johnson, 25- K. Morrison, 32- Anderson
- Kelsey: 19 PTS, 13 REB, 3 STL
- Callie: 11 PTS, 5 REB
- Lawver: 11 PTS, 7 PTS from the line
- Last time: The last time the two teams met was in 1988
- Series: The Sabercats now lead the series 2-0
- Calvary recently lost to Emmaus at the MCCC Conference Championship
- Calvary knocked off the #1-seeded Providence University Pilots before today
The Sabercats have earned a return trip to the NCCAA DII National Championship, which will be held March 12-14 in Joplin, Missouri. Find details at mbusabercats.com/schedule.