Billings, Montana – Shawnee State women's basketball had their season come to an end prematurely on Thursday afternoon, falling to William Woods (Mo.) 88-85 in the first round of the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo.
William Woods would stun the Bears, flying out to a 14-4 lead, highlighted by two breakaway layups from Peyton Grennlee. Shawnee State would battle back in the first quarter, with Jonessa Moore (SR/Cincinnati, Ohio) hitting two free throws to put the Bears up 22-21. However, Ashton Lovely (SO/Jamestown, Ohio) would foul Kaycee Gerald with time expiring on a three point shot, and Gerald would put the Owls up 24-22 by hitting all three.
The second quarter would only get worse for Shawnee State as the Owls would go on another 14-4 run to go up by double digits, leading 43-32. The Bears would cut the lead back to single digits, at one point to as few as six on a Moore layup. However, Greenlee would hit a three to put William Woods back up 49-40, and that score would hold at halftime.
The Bears would mount a furious rally in the second half, starting with a 22-15 third quarter to cut the lead to two. Jonessa Moore had 10 points in the quarter to lead the charge, with Hannah Miller (SO/Coal Grove, Ohio) hitting two layups to aid the cause.
The fourth quarter would be back and forth, with Shawnee State cutting the lead to as few as one but never quite getting over the hump. The Bears would have a chance to tie late in the game, down 88-85, but Bailey Cummins (FR/Brooksville, Kentucky) would see a three pointer rim out at the buzzer as the Bears would have their hearts broken in the first round.
Jonessa Moore led Shawnee State with a career-high 36 points in the loss. Madison Ridout (JR/Jackson, Ohio) and Lydia Poe (SO/Jackson, Ohio) each had 10. The Bears, who shot 40.8% from three for the season, were 2-20 from behind the arc on Thursday.
Jasmine Brown had 24 points to lead William Woods. Kaycee Gerald had 22, Peyton Greenlee added 17 and Kelsey Scherder had 11 to help the Owls to the upset.
With the loss, Shawnee State's season comes to a close as the Bears finish the year 31-3. The Bears were Mid-South Conference Regular Season and Tournament Champions, winning the league for the second consecutive year and the tournament for the third.
For continued coverage of Shawnee State women's basketball, stay tuned to ssubears.com.