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Women's Basketball - Thu, Mar. 9, 2017
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SIOUX CITY, Iowa - The Marian women's basketball team overcame a slow start and ended up running away with a 105-92 victory in the NAIA Championship Opening Round over Olivet Nazarene Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa. The win makes Marian 31-3 this season and the Knights will move on to the second round.

Olivet's fast-paced style of play was in full effect in the early going as the Tigers jumped out to an 8-0 lead. However, the Knights answered back with an 8-0 run of their own to tie the game. Marian never did take the lead in the first quarter and Olivet held a 25-19 after the first quarter. The Knights shot 7-for-21 in the quarter and turned the ball over five times. 

The tide turned in the second quarter as Marian settled in and adjusted to the pace of play. The Knights cut down on turnovers (four in the second quarter) and shot lights out from the field. Marian started the quarter on a 10-2 run to take its first lead of the game, and while Olivet shot just 6-for-16 in the quarter, Marian was a sizzling 13-for-17. Marian outscored Olivet 36-19 in the quarter and carried a 55-44 lead into the locker room.

Though Olivet tried to get back in the game with more 3-point attempts and intensified pressure in the third, the Knights would not allow it. Marian put up 38 more field goal attempts in the third quarter and connected on 21 of them. Meanwhile, Olivet shot 18-for-42 and turned the ball over eight times. However, the Tigers did knock down five 3-pointers, but the Knights extended their lead to 14 by the end of the quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Olivet made a run to trim the lead to 10 with four minutes to play, but Marian's pressbreak offense proved effective and the Knights held off any thoughts of an ONU rally. Marian won 105-92 and picked up its 18th-straight win in the process.

Turnovers, 3-point shooting and rebounding were keys coming into the game and the Knights executed well on all three. Marian limited Olivet to 9-of-28 shooting from deep, which was 14 attempts below the Tigers' average. While the Knights turned the ball over 20 times, Olivet committed 19 and Marian won the rebounding battle 46-41.

Six different Knights scored in double figures with Ana Kirby's 26 leading the way. Jessica Almeida scored 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Kellie Kirkhoff surpassed the 1,000 point mark in the win and added 13 points, while Dejah Cyrus scored 15 and Jenna Sullivan posted a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Rachel Titzer gave the Knights quality minutes off the bench with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. Joana Soeiro dished out 10 assists.

Marian will face the winner of IU-East and Purdue Northwest Friday at 6:15 p.m. ET. A live video broadcast is available on NAIANetwork.com for a fee, and a live audio broadcast is available for free on MUKnights.com.

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