WAYNE, Neb. — No. 12 Fort Lewis (26-4 overall) opened the NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament with a 69-58 victory against Mary (N.D.) (19-10) Friday at Rice Auditorium.

Dana Schreibvogel scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and had four steals to lead the Skyhawks. Starting guards Ashley Kuchar and Katerina Garcia got hot in the second half, finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Kuchar went 3-of-6 from behind the arc, while Garcia was 3-for-5 with four assists and five rebounds.

“At the start of the second half, Ashley was great and came out on fire,” said seventh-year FLC head coach Mark Kellogg. “It was a good mentality for everyone. We turned down shots in the first half and weren't in the attack mode. Kat hit some huge threes in the second half.”

The Marauders, making their first trip to the NCAA tournament, scored the last nine points of the first half to send the teams to their locker rooms knotted up at 25. Mary trailed by as many as 11 points midway through the first frame and were down by nine with five minutes left in the half. The Marauders held FLC scoreless the last 5:09 of the opening stanza and made three straight three-pointers — by Shaunna Knife, Ali Collins, and Mia Gilbreath — to level the score.

Kuchar scored the first seven points of the second stanza to put FLC back into control at 32-25.Mary trimmed the lead to one point in the next few minutes, but the Skyhawks slowly built their lead to double digits.

Mary never led in the game and could never get over the hump against the Skyhawks in the second half.

Knife led the Marauders with 16 points, while Collins and Linda Murray each scored 12.

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Turnovers factored heavily into FLC's victory. The Skyhawks forced 22 Mary miscues, while committing just 15 of their own.

“We kept hearing about how good Mary is defensively, and we're pretty good defensively, too,” said Kellogg. “It was a grind-it-out kind of win.”

Fort Lewis also won the rebounding battle 43-36. In addition to Schreibvogel's game-high nine boards, Jamie Simmons came off the bench to grab seven rebounds, including three on the offensive end.

Schreibvogel, who was named to the Daktronics All-Central Region second team earlier this week, became the fifth player in school history to reach 1,300 career points. She has now scored exactly at 1,300 career points.

“A few of the girls had first-game jitters,” said Kellogg. “Hopefully we can put that behind us.”

The Skyhawks improved to 8-5 all-time in NCAA playoff games. Fort Lewis is making its sixth NCAA tournament apperance — and fifth trip in a row. The Skyhawks advanced to the Division II national title game in 2010 and the Central Regional championship tilt in 2009.