SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The historic journey of the 2012-13 Roosevelt women's basketball team came to a conclusion in the 22nd annual State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship Round of 16 on Tuesday, as the second-seeded Lakers fell to third-seeded Bethel, 69-55, at the Tyson Events Center.
The Lakers cap their third season of existence with a 28-7 overall record, the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championships, a final national ranking of No. 8 and their first NAIA tournament appearance and victory.
"It was disappointing to finish the season shooting so poorly, but I couldn't be prouder of what this team accomplished this year," said Roosevelt head coach Robyn Scherr-Wells. "The best part is that every player returns and I know they will be hungry to accomplish even greater things next season."
In a Sweet 16 contest serving as a rematch of the Dec. 5 regular season matchup between the Lakers and the 11th-ranked Lady Pilots (27-7), Bethel jumped out to a 12-0 lead to start the game until Roosevelt clawed its way back to get within five headed into halftime after a Tori Clark steal and fast-break bucket capped a quick 5-0 stanza-ending run by the Lakers.
But it was an un-Roosevelt-like night shooting the ball for the nation's 10th-ranked scoring team that prevented the Green and White from getting any closer than that five-point margin.
Despite junior All-CCAC First Team guard Casey Davis' game-high 23 points, Roosevelt had little else to offer offensively. The Lakers shot just 27.4 percent (17-for-62) from the field, compared to the team's 40 percent clip for the year entering Friday, and made just four of 23 attempts from behind the three-point arc.
With Roosevelt trailing 36-31 early in the second, Bethel went on a 7-0 run and continually turned away any Laker threats at a rally with defensive stops and successful offensive responses.
The Lakers turned the ball over 15 times, compared to Bethel's eight giveaways, while the Lady Pilots had a 32-22 advantage in points scored in the paint. Bethel's bench also outscored the Roosevelt reserves by a 25-9 margin.
Davis did her best to keep the unprecedented Laker season alive, attacking the basket to get to the charity stripe 17 times.
Maria Tamburrino capped her All-CCAC First Team campaign with a game-high 10 boards, while fellow junior Clark had 12 points.
Laura Johnson led Bethel with 15 points.
The loss snapped Roosevelt's season-high seven-game winning streak, but it did not snap hopes for the 2013-14 season. The Lakers' championship squad featured no seniors and returns every member, including the program's first-ever recruiting class that accounted for over 74 percent of its offense as juniors this past campaign, to defend its CCAC titles and take the program another step further into NAIA postseason success next year.