KINGSPORT, Tenn. — After coughing up a double-digit first half advantage, the University of Rio Grande scored the first five points of the second half to take a lead it would never relinquish and went on to post a 72-60 win over Washington Adventist, Sunday afternoon, in the final round of women’s play in the NAIA DII Showcase at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort and Convention Center.
The RedStorm, ranked No. 24 in the preseason coaches’ Top 25 poll, improved to 7-1 with a rebound victory from Saturday’s tough overtime loss to No. 19 Taylor University.
Washington Adventist dropped to 4-4 with the loss.
Rio Grande appeared on its way to an easy win after a jumper by freshman Avery Harper (Seaman, OH) with 6:25 remaining in the first half made it 29-19, but the Shock roared to life with a 13-0 run to take a 32-29 edge after a layup by Demyra Selby with 1:56 left before the intermission.
Senior Jasmine Smith (Canal Winchester, OH) scored on a buzzer-beating layup to get the RedStorm back into a 34-34 halftime tie, but it was a conventional three-point play just nine seconds into the second half by senior Chelsy Slone (Gallipolis, OH) which put head coach David Smalley’s club in front for good.
Rio finished the period with an eight-point lead and, after WAU closed the gap to 54-51 when Deonna Jones-Carter hit one of two free throw tries with 8:38 left in the game, an 8-0 RedStorm run capped by a three-pointer by sophomore Chyna Chambers (Columbus, OH) produced an 11-point cushion with 5:59 remaining.
The Shock got no closer than five points the rest of the way, while the final margin of victory was Rio’s biggest lead of the day.
Senior Jaida Carter (New Philadelphia, OH) led the RedStorm’s winning effort with 17 points and also had 10 rebounds. Smith finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists, while Slone had 13 points.
Selby finished with 12 points to pace three double-digit scorers for the Shock, while Aryanna Hutcherson and Amber Morman tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively. Selby also had five assists and three steals.
Jones-Carter narrowly missed a double-double for WAU, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds.
Rio Grande returns to action on Wednesday night when it opens River States Conference play at East Division rival Indiana University East.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.