Ozark Christian College’s Baylee Hilton (23) looks for an open teammate as Grace Bible College’s Jewel Ro defends during a game in the NCCCA Division II Women’s National Championship on Thursday night at OCC.

North Central downs OCC in 7th-place game at NCCAA DII National Tournament


Jaylen Newman broke her own school record, scoring a tournament-best 48 points to lead Trinity Bible College to a 76-66 victory over Ozark Christian College on Saturday afternoon for seventh place in the NCCAA Women’s Division II Basketball Championship at the OCC Multipurpose Building.

Newman, a 6-foot junior forward from Velva, North Dakota, broke the record of 39 points she set earlier this season. She was 22 of 33 from the floor, including 2 of 7 from behind the 3-point line and 2 of 4 from the free throw line. Newman grabbed 13 rebounds and had three steals as the Lions finish their season 19-13.

Senior guard Janae Droste had 20 points and grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lions.

Junior guard Whitney Matlack led four players in double figures for Ozark Christian with 20 points.

Senior guard Chelsea Woodring and sophomore guard Baylee Hilton had 13 each, and sophomore guard Kendall Schultz added 10 points with seven rebounds for the Ambassadors, whose season came to an end with a record of 18-20.

On Friday, Lizzy Swanson and Jamie High combined to score 54 points as North Central University defeated Ozark Christian 74-57 Friday afternoon in the consolation bracket of the NCCAA Women’s Division II Basketball Championship.

Swanson, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard, scored 13 of her game-high 30 in the third quarter, connecting on 4-of-9 3-point attempts and shooting 10-of-21 from the floor. High, a 5-10 senior forward, was 11-of-18 from the floor and had 16 of her 24 points in the first half to go along with 11 rebounds for the Rams (9-19).

Baylee Hilton, a 5-8 sophomore guard from Aurora, drilled 7-of-15 3-point attempts to lead Ozark Christian with 29 points. She was 5-of-9 from 3 in the second half.

“Baylee was huge for us tonight,” OCC coach Tab Hall said. “It was great to see her have a big game again.”

Senior guard Chelsea Woodring added 14 points, and junior guard Whitney Matlack had 10 points and six rebounds for the Ambassadors.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Hall said. “The ladies gave good effort, just didn’t execute well enough to win.”

Tab Hall's summary of Thursday's first-round NCCAA Division II Women's National Championship game between Ozark Christian College and Grace Bible was rather pointed.

"I felt like we couldn't hit the broad side of a barn tonight," said Hall, the Lady Ambassadors coach. 

Grace Bible, meanwhile, knocked down its shots and cruised to a 94-69 victory at Ozark Christian College.

While their offensive output improved greatly in the second half, the Ambassadors were not able to recover from the 23.1 percent shooting clip that plagued them in the first quarter. The Lady Tigers shot 50 percent from the floor in the first stanza — hitting five 3-pointers along the way — and led 21-10 entering the second.

"When they're hot and we're not, we've got to make some stops and we didn't do that tonight," Hall said. "I think it was just one of those nights. Of course it's not how we wanted to come out in the first game, but Grace is a phenomenal team. (The Lady Tigers) have got a lot of weapons."

Grace Bible, who defeated OCC 81-44 in a previous meeting at the FBBC Invite in Iowa on Nov. 20, did its heavy lifting from behind the arc on 13-of-26 shooting.

McKenzie McCord, who led all scorers with 28 points, knocked down three of her game-high six 3-pointers in the first quarter, while teammate Jewel Ro (19 points) hit two of her five 3s in the same stretch. 

Abby Schultz finished with 18 points for the Lady Tigers.

"They are a team that can score inside and out," Hall said. "You've got to protect (the lane), but we still didn't make the adjustments we needed to and we left the perimeter too open."

Whitney Matlack led the Ambassadors with 18 points, while Baylee Hilton chipped in 16, Chelsea Woodring (Matlack's senior sister) added 15 and Kendall Shultz finished with 10.

After an even second quarter (14-14), the Lady Tigers came out strong in the second half and closed the third quarter on a 13-2 run — capped on a McCord jumper near the top of the key to give her team a 60-40 lead.

"We haven't played much the past two weeks," Grace Bible coach Rich Renzema said. "We came out a little rusty, but I thought our girls did a nice job. ... To make the final four is real nice."

After winning their region for the first time in 40 years, according to Renzema, the Lady Tigers — participating in the national tournament for the first time since 2008 — are playing on house money this week.

"Everything from here on is just gravy," Renzema said.

While they won't hoist the national championship on their home court this season, the Ambassadors are hoping to bounce back today and finish the tournament strong.

"I think we had great moments tonight and we had moments where we executed well, but they had two big quarters and it killed us," Hall said. "But we'll get back at it (today). I like how we match up with (North Central), but again, they're quick and strong and we're going to have to play better to get a win."