BILLINGS – The defending NAIA national champions are back in the final four.
Freed-Hardeman made 16 3-pointers – nine in a blistering first half – on its way to an 82-60 win over Lewis-Clark State Saturday in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Jamie Crum was 7 of 12 from 3-point range, while Carrie Hatchel was 6 of 11 for the Lions who shot 16-30 overall (53.3 percent). Kaylee Croom led the team with 22 points to join Crum (21) and Hatchel (20) as 20-point scorers.
Freed-Hardeman jumped out to an 18-5 lead in the first quarter and threatened to run away with the game. L-C State battled back to within 21-15 after Peyton Souvenir’s 3 midway through the second quarter, but Crum hit two 3s late to push the lead back to 13, 37-24 by halftime.
The Lions then blitzed the Warriors in the third. Croom scored 14 of her 22 in the quarter as Freed-Hardeman outscored their opponent 27-10 to take a 30-point lead heading into the fourth.
Freed-Hardeman advances to Monday’s first semifinal at 6 p.m. They await the winner between Montana Western and The Master’s University.