BILLINGS - Second-seeded Rocky Mountain College pulled away late from No. 15 Reinhardt (Ga.) 63-44 to win Friday's opening round of the NAIA Women's National Basketball Tournament at Rocky's Fortin Center.
The Bears jumped out to a 24-9 lead after one quarter before Reinhardt cut it to 41-35 late in the third on Brooke Grinstead's 3-pointer. But Kloie Thatcher answered with a buzzer-beating 3 to spark a 7-0 Rocky run into the fourth and help the Bears hold off the Eagles.
Both teams struggled with shooting. Reinhardt finished 17-of-60 for 28 percent on the night while Rocky was 18-of-58 for 31 percent on its home court.
Thatcher led all players with 23 points. N'Dea Flye dumped in 17 followed by Shauna Bribiescas with 12.
Catherine Shope and Abi Haynes each scored 12 to lead Reinhardt.
Rocky will play No. 10 seed Dakota State University Saturday at 5 p.m. for a ticket to this year's round of 16.
No. 10 Dakota State (S.D.) 69, No. 7 Hope International (Calif.) 63
In Friday's early game at the Fortin Center, Dakota State University put four players in double-figure scoring on the way to a 69-63 win over Hope International.
Trailing by four at the end of the opening quarter, Dakota outscored Hope 19-11 in the second to control a 34-30 halftime lead. The Trojans increased it to a 10-point leader after three and took advantage of a 35-23 scoring difference in bench points and second chance points.
Jessi Giles led Dakota State with 14 followed by Savannah Walsdorf with 11. Courtney Menning and Lexi Robson each finished with 10.
Hope International's Shiane Talley led everybody with 18 points. Ana Resendiz closed with 11.