RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande raced to an 18-point first quarter lead and cruised to an 84-56 win over Ohio Valley University in the women’s division championship game of the 34th Annual Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament, Saturday afternoon, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Twelve different players scored – including three in double figures – for the RedStorm, who improved to 4-2 with the win.
Ohio Valley, a member of the NCAA Division II Great Midwest Athletic Conference, dropped to 2-3 with the loss.
The Fighting Scots trailed just 10-6 after a jumper in the lane by Cydney Franklin with 5:42 left in the opening stanza, but Rio scored 15 of the final 16 points in the period and the game was never really close from that point on.
The RedStorm led by as many as 21 points before settling on a 19-point lead, 42-23, at the intermission and the cushion reached as many as 24 points, 56-32, after a pair of free throws by sophomore Jasmine Smith (Canal Winchester, OH) with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter.
OVU responded with a 12-2 run of its own and pulled to within 58-44 after Jazzmyn Simmons hit one of two free throws with 1:21 left in the period, but the Fighting Scots got no closer the rest of the way.
Rio pushed the lead back to 17 points by the end of the quarter and closed the game on a 14-2 run to earn its largest lead of the contest in the game’s final margin.
Junior Alexis Payne led the RedStorm with a game-high 15 points and two blocked shots, while sophomore Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) and Smith finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Freshman Kamryn Conaway (Lucasville, OH) had a game-best 10 rebounds in the winning effort, while fellow frosh Sydney Holden (Wheelersburg, OH) had five assists and freshman Megan Duduit (Minford, OH) had five steals.
Jalyn Gilbert had 13 points and three steals in a losing cause for Ohio Valley, while Anee’ Braswell added 12 points.
Rio Grande will return to action next Saturday, taking on 24th-ranked Milligan (Tenn.) as part of the NAIA Division II Showcase in Kingsport, Tenn.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.