Dowling relies on defense to take down No. 1-seed Colorado Mesa 60-44
SAN ANTONIO -- The third-seeded Dowling Golden Lions played a strong defensive game to defeat the No. 1-seeded Colorado Mesa Mavericks 60-44 on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Championship.
Dowling (29-3) will take on the sixth-seeded Augustana (S.D.) Vikings in the semifinals at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday at Bill Greehey Arena. Augustana upset top-ranked and previously undefeated Clayton State 81-68 in the first game of the day. Colorado Mesa, playing in its first national quarterfinal game, completed the campaign with a 31-2 record.
The Golden Lions, also in their first quarterfinal, held the Mavericks to 29.3 percent shooting (17-58) from the floor and only 15 percent (3-20) in 3-point range.
"We pride ourselves defensively," said Dowling coach Joe Pellicane, in his 27th year at the Golden Lions helm. "The stat sheet pretty much reflects who we are. That means we are trying to challenge shots."
Dowling is definitely a tough defensive team. The Golden Lions are ranked No. 1 in DII in both scoring defense (47.7 points per game before the tournament) and field goal percentage defense (31 percent).
Senior forward Danielle Wilson, who scored 14 points, contributed to the Golden Lions' defensive effort with nine rebounds and seven blocked shots.
"We knew they were a shooting team," said the 6-foot-3 Wilson, who played three seasons at Baylor before transferring to Dowling. "We needed to get on the 3-point line and the shooters, as well as block shots."
Colorado Mesa was ranked seventh in field goal shooting, sporting a pre-tournament mark of 45.2 percent.
The Golden Lions held a 25-20 edge at halftime, as both teams shot near 30 percent. Dowling jumped out to a 12-point lead 43-31 with 9:40 remaining in the game. During the second half of play, Colorado Mesa could get no closer than five points on two occasions. Dowling recorded its 16-point lead (57-41) with 1:07 left on the clock, and with 35 seconds to go (60-44).
Dowling senior guard Connie Simmons scored 14 points, and senior guard Seja Gamble had 13. Sophomore guard Christine Verrelle scored eight points and pulled in a team-best 10 rebounds.
Colorado Mesa was paced by senior forward Kelsey Sigl with a game-leading 15 points. Senior guard Bruna Deichmann scored 11 points for the Mavericks, while senior guard Katrina Selsor grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Golden Lions shot 43.5 percent (20-46) and 27.3 percent (3-11) in 3-point range. Colorado Mesa held a slight 35-34 edge in rebounding.