*This story was posted to MyNAIATourney.org on March 11, 2015.
The Tennessee Wesleyan College Bulldogs cruised in their first round matchup against Southeastern University (Fla.) by a score of 62-45. Double-double machine senior Jenna Adams, who recorded her 18th double-double of the season, led the charge with a staggering performance of 13 points and 17 rebounds.
Tennessee Wesleyan, who made their 12th appearance in the tournament, defied a 3-8 first round record for the win. This was Southeastern University’s first-ever appearance in the tournament.
The Fire, who rank second in the country in three-point field goals made per game at 12.65, and total made three-point field goals at 392, proved their worth from downtown in the first half. Southeastern University shot 40 percent from the three-point line in the first half and jumped out to an early 14-7 lead with 15:22 left in the first half.
Bulldog star Adams scored just five points, but pulled down a whopping nine rebounds in the first half alone. Despite Adams’s slow start, junior Melanie Barker and senior guard Shira Buley picked up the slack offensively. Barker added 11 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Burley contributed seven points and four assists.
The Bulldogs held on to a slim 27-25 lead at halftime.
Adams got it going early in the second half for Tennessee Wesleyan, scoring six quick points to help extend the Bulldog lead to nine with 10:38 left in the half.
Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were ranked first nationally in field goal percentage and second in scoring defense. They lived up to both of those statistics in the second half. They limited Southeastern University to just two three-pointers in the second half and forced the Fire to shoot just 31% from the field in the game.
Tennessee Wesleyan finished with three different players in double-digit scoring figures. Along with Adams, Buley and Barker both finished with 13 points. Alyssa Ramos finished with 14 points and three assists for the Fire, while Carlie Newman finished with 13 points and eight rebounds.
With the victory, Tennessee Wesleyan avoided a first round exit and booked a date with defending national champion, No. 3 seed Saint Francis on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Bulldog Head Coach Jeff Rice respects Saint Francis, but believes under the right circumstances they can come away victorious.
“They’re a great team, with a storied history,” said Rice. “Hopefully we can come in Friday, make a few more shots, and if we can keep them in the forties we might have a chance.”