MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Rhodes used a balanced offensive effort to survive Spalding and advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament 83-59 on Friday night.
The Lynx advance to 25-3 in the post season, matching the school's highest win total set a season ago. The Golden Eagles finish their 2013-2014 campaign at 16-11.
Spalding opened up determined to make the game a close one, while the Eagles kept pace with the Lynx. The first 16 points went tick-for-tack, as they Lynx' Symone Daniels, Natalie Goodrum, Lauren Avant and Dy'nelle Todman buckets all received answered from the Eagles, making the count 8-8 by the 15:45 mark. The steady Lynx continued to produce beyond the capabilities of Spalding and they steadily pulled away. By the 9:17 mark, the balanced Lynx offense posted an eight point lead, 25-17 after a Blair Smith lay-in.
Rhodes worked to widen the gap, knocking down seven first half 3s, including back-to-back-to-back trey balls from Goodrum, Daniels, and Smith to post a 41-21 lead at the 4:23 mark. Rhodes had a solid finish to the half with a ten point run, including a pair of 3s from Daniels and Goodrum, and a pair of buckets from Avant to close the half with a 53-26 lead at the half.
Avant led all scorers with 19 points at the break, with Daniels close behind with 15 first half points. Spalding's scoring was led by Jessica Guy who netted seven points and Kerstin Hayes with four points.
Rhodes held the Eagles to just 25.0 percent shooting from the field, and a mere 11.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The Lynx lit up the gym with their scorching 60.0 percent from the field and a blazing 58.3 percent from 3-point land. Rhodes forced eight turnovers, which they capitalized into 13 points. Rhodes dominated the paint in the first half, with 26 points in the lane to the Eagles eight.
In the second half, each offense got off to a sluggish start, with a four minute scoring drought. Hanna Washle broke the silence with a made free throw at 16:13 to make the count 55-30. Rhodes, who went scoreless for nearly seven minutes, had that steak broken with a bucket and free throw from Avant, at 13:01 making the count 58-31.
The Lynx stifled any Eagles runs, continuing to fire from the 3-point line, with made treys from Daniels and Todman on successive possessions to keep the 66-39 advantage with 10:06 to play. Rhodes continued to add to its lead, working up to a 27 point advantage at the 4:53 mark after a Smith jumper made the count 76-49. Rhodes defense closed out the contest and the Lynx held on for the 83-59 win.