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Rocky Mountain College upends Wayland Baptist to advance to NAIA Women's Quarterfinals

Shauna Bribiescas
Posted at 9:42 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 12:57:38-04

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — In what continues to be a historic season for the Rocky Mountain College women's basketball team, the Battlin' Bears took down the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens 66-53.

"I've told this team from day one, 'You can go as far as you want to go. That's up to you guys.' And, you know, give our kids credit tonight," said head coach Wes Keller.

The Flying Queens came in on a 14-game win streak, averaging 84 points per game, but Keller gave his team a very simple message at halftime when the Battlin' Bears led 36-30.

"Defense, defense, defense. That's how we always got to pick up the energy. You get stops on defense is going to translate to offense," said Flye.

Rocky Mountain finished the game with six steals, five blocks, and forced 12 turnovers on the night.

The Battlin' Bears opened the contest continuing the hot streak that ended their last game against Dakota State, jumping out to a 9-4 lead on a Kloie Thatcher three-pointer with just over five minted left in the first quarter. The Flying Queens rallied to end the first and capped off the quarter by tying the game at 15-15.

The second quarter was a slugfest as the two teams traded shot back and forth with neither team finding the opportunity to pull ahead until Flye knocked down two free throws and a Gracee Lekvold steal turned into a Mackenzie Dethman shot that gave the Battlin' Bears a six-point lead heading into the half.

The Battlin' Bears continued to play staunch defense while converting what opportunities they could on offense to keep their lead at five points after the third quarter at 48-43.

In the fourth, the Battlin' Bears were able to pull away slightly in the fourth jumping out on a 10-4 run near the late stages of the game, before a Lekvold three-pointer and three made free-throws by Kloie Thatcher sealed the deal for the Battlin' Bears.

Thatcher finished with a team-high 15 points, Lekvold, the Frontier Conference freshman of the year, added 13 points, and Flye finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.

"It's Rocky history. Every single win the past couple weeks has been Rocky history. So, it means so much to me and all the girls," said Dominique Stephens. "It's amazing."

The Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears will take on the Thomas More Saints on Saturday at 3 p.m. central, 2 p.m. mountain.