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PARK CITY, Kan. – For the third-straight season, the Southwestern College women's basketball team is headed to Sioux City, Iowa, for the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship. But this time, and for the first time in the program's history, they will be doing so as the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Champions. The Lady Builders used a 57-point second half to race past the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, 90-65, in Tuesday's KCAC Championship game at Hartman Arena in Park City.
Jana Reichenberger finished with 16 points to lead Southwestern, and was one of four Lady Builders to post double figures in the win. Montana Rickey added 14 points, while Annjelina Robinson and Jordan Hobbs added 10 points. Zefiryn Bryan led Southwestern's rebounding efforts with 10 boards.
Kansas Wesleyan's Alecia Smith led all scorers with 20 points.
After a scoreless opening two minutes, Southwestern (23-7) finally made the first move. Montana Rickey drained a triple to break the ice, and Jana Reichenberger scored six-straight points as the Lady Builders took a 9-2 lead with 15:32 to play. The Lady Builders pushed their lead to as many as nine, 15-6, with 13:50 to play, but Kansas Wesleyan (18-13) used a 10-0 run to take a 16-15 lead by the 10:30 mark. Neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way, until Christian Cassity drained a triple with two seconds remaining in the half to give Kansas Wesleyan a 38-33 lead at halftime.
The Lady Builders needed just 44 seconds to erase the Coyote lead, and this time, Southwestern never looked back. Annjelina Robinson drained a trey on Southwestern's opening possession, and assisted on Zefiryn Bryan's lay-up the next time down the floor. The Lady Builders went on to score the first seven points of the second half, and took a 40-38 lead at the 18:40 mark. KWU answered with five-straight points to take a three-point lead, and led by as many as four, 45-41, with 16:58 to play. But on the next trip down the floor, Kaitlin Tennyson hit a three-point bucket, and sparked a 12-2 run over the next three minutes to take a 53-47 lead with 12:33 to play. This time, the Lady Builders never looked back. Southwestern took its first double-digit lead with 10:19 to play after a Jordan Hobbs lay-up. That bucket sparked eight-straight points, and a 10-2 run that pushed the Southwestern lead to 70-53 with 8:48 to play. Senior Annjelina Robinson put her mark on her first KCAC championship with a jumper from Trinicia Shaffer that gave Southwestern a 20-point, 78-58 lead with 4:53 to play. The Lady Builders led by as many as 28 in the final seconds of the game, but a KWU triple in the final 10 seconds cut the final margin to 25 points. But that was fine with Southwestern, as for the first time in the school's history, the Lady Builders won a KCAC Tournament Championship.
With the win, the Lady Builders move to 23-7 on the season. The Lady Builders have now qualified for next week's NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship, which will open Thursday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. Southwestern's opponent will be announced Wednesday in a selection show that will be broadcast on www.naia.org.