March 13, 2009

Courtesy of PC Athletics

CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. - Freshman guard Sage Indendi (Livingston, Mont.) led four double-digit scorers with a game-high 18 points to lead unbeaten George Fox University to a 71-56 victory over Oglethorpe University in the sectional semifinals of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, held at Thomas More College.

With the win, the Bruins (29-0) advance to the Sectional Finals tomorrow (Saturday, March 14) in Crestview Hills against the winner of the 7 p.m. contest between Hope College (27-1) and host Thomas More (28-2). Oglethorpe, an NCAA Division III Final Four participant in 2008, saw its season come to an end at 28-4 overall.

Oglethorpe jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the opening 1:23, but the Bruins quickly took command by going on a 10-0 run to take a 14-4 advantage with 12:41 to go in the opening half. GFU led by 14 points (31-17) with 5:52 to go in the period, only to see the Stormy Petrels rally with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to four (31-27) with two minutes left. George Fox responded with the final four points of the period to take a 35-27 margin into the half.

After the two teams traded baskets early in the second half, Oglethorpe steadily closed the margin before tying the game at 44-44 on a basket by senior forward Tina Grace (Pensacola, Fla.) with 14:24 to play. The Bruins quickly reasserted control for good with an 18-0 run over the next six minutes for a 62-44 advantage with 8:20 remaining. The Stormy Petrels cut the lead to 11 points (67-56) with 1:32 to play, but would get no closer.

"(Oglethorpe) came out sharp early in the second half and had us on our heels. We felt a little pressure at that point," said George Fox head coach Scott Rueck. "We came out of a timeout and started attacking the hoop better. We then got some stops on the defensive end, which helped to kick start our offense."

In addition to Indendi, GFU was paced by freshman guard Keisha Gordon (Vancouver, Wash.) with 15 points, while junior forward Elise Kuenzi (Silverton, Ore.) added 13 markers and senior center Kristen Shielee (Gresham. Ore.) recorded a double-double with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

For Oglethorpe, Grace bucketed a team-high 17 points in the loss, while classmates Katie Kulavic (Norcross, Ga.) and Biz Richmann (Lawrenceville, Ga.) recorded 15 and 13 points, respectively. The five OU seniors concluded their collegiate careers with a cumulative 97-26 four-year record.

"We're going to walk off the court with our heads held high," said Oglethorpe head coach Ron Sattele. "If you look at (the seniors) body of work over four years, there are not many people who have done what they have done. Off the court, they are even better people. They are what Division III athletics is all about."