WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Make NAIA First Fab Four, Monday @ 6 p.m.
JACKSON, Tenn. – NAIA No. 20 Trevecca Nazarene (22-11), a No. 6 seed in the 28th Annual NAIA DI Women's National Championships, continued their assault on higher-seeded teams with a 68-50 win over No. 4 seed Loyola (La.) University-New Orleans on Saturday. The Trojans have three wins to this point in the tournament, including victories over No. 3 Southern Nazarene (Okla.), No. 2 Langston, (Okla.), and now No. 4 Loyola. Loyola’s season ends with a 28-7 record.
Trevecca advances to their first NAIA women’s basketball Fab Four. They will face a familiar foe in Freed-Hardeman University. The Lions have a 18-8 advantage in the series. FHU has won eight of the last 11 meetings including both meetings this season.
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TNU's head coach, Gary Van Atta stated after the game, "I knew this team had it in them." He adds, "And they knew it also. We just had to help them heal from the scars of some of the early losses."
Loyola opened with the game's first basket on a lay up from Trenese Smith. Trevecca Nazarene then rattled off a 10-0 run to go up 12-2 with 15:38 left in the first half. The Wolfpack of Loyola remained within striking distance for a while, but Trevecca Nazarene was able to stretch their largest first half lead up to 17 points, 37-20, with 1:44 left in the half. The Trojans held a 16-point halftime advantage, 39-23.
In the second half, Trevecca Nazarene kept applying the pressure as they used an 8-2 run to start the half, pushing their lead up to 22-points. The Trojans led by 22 points on three occasions in the second half, with the latest coming 64-42 with 3:56 left in the game following a three pointer from K.C Van Atta. Trevecca Nazarene then coasted to the 68-50 final.
"Our team defense in this tournament has been huge", states Van Atta. "We've held some very good offensive teams well below their scoring averages."
Loyola cut the lead down to 11 points once in the second half, but their 23-percent shooting from the field, including just 15-percent (5-33) from behind the arc, hurt any chance of a quarterfinal rally.
Trevecca Nazarene was led by Jennifer Bognar with 20 points and nine rebounds. Mariska Reed posted 13 points, while K.C. Van Atta added 11 points.
Trevecca’s seniors are now 102-43 in their career. The women’s program has won 20 games in a season seven times. All seven 20-win seasons have come in the last nine years. This 2008 senior class is the first to have four 20-win seasons. Gary Van Atta has three 20-win seasons in his first three years at Trevecca. His three-year TNU record is 80-23.
This is Trevecca’s ninth consecutive trip to the NAIA Women's Basketball Championships. For head coach Gary Van Atta, this is the eighth time he has taken a team to the NAIA National Tournament. This is his third trip with the Trojans. He previously led Montevallo (now NCAA D-II) to five consecutive NAIA tournaments. He led Montevallo to the Fab Four, two Elite Eight's and one Sweet Sixteen. In all, Van Atta has a 14-7 record at the NAIA Tournament. Including Trevecca, Van Atta has led five teams to the Elite Eight round. The Trojans are 12-6 in NAIA Tournament play. Trevecca has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (2000) round once, the Elite Eight (2005, 2006, 2007) three times, and now the Fab Four this year.
All games are broadcast over 89.1 and 91.5 WNAZ FM. All games are aired on the internet atwww.wnaz.com All home games have a statistical webcast available at www.tnutrojans.com