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Cold Start Snaps Evangel Women's Win Streak in Heart Semifinals at Top Seed Central Methodist

Cold Start Snaps Evangel Women's Win Streak in Heart Semifinals at Top Seed Central Methodist

The Basics                                                                                     
Score: Evangel 63, #8 Central Methodist 90 | Box Score
Records: Evangel (20-11); Central Methodist (30-2)
Location: Fayette, Mo. | Puckett Fieldhouse

FAYETTE, Mo. – A cold night from the field snapped an 8-game win streak by the Evangel women's basketball team Friday night falling 90-63 at top seed Central Methodist in the Heart of America Athletic Conference Semifinals.

Evangel shot just 25 percent from the field for the game, the lowest mark of the season, as No. 8 Central Methodist shot 54 percent from the field. The slow start saw the Eagles outscore the Crusaders 22-7 in the first quarter as Evangel was never able to fully recover.

"Central Methodist came out firing on all cylinders," said head coach Megan Leuzinger. "We struggled both on the offensive and defensive end tonight. I am really proud of how our girls battled in the second half and competed."

The Crusaders outscored Central Methodist 27-24 in the third quarter after trailing 46-25 at halftime.

Central Methodist out-rebounded Evangel 50-39 after the Crusaders had out-rebounded the Eagles 50-33 back in November when Evangel handed CMU one of its only two losses of the season. Central Methodist advances to the Heart Championship game on Monday as it will host last year's tournament champion, William Penn.

Senior Lexie Vaught led Evangel with 15 points and seven rebounds as Brianna Vogts was the only other Crusader in double figures with 12 points off the bench. Vogts also pulled down seven boards.

Evangel finished just 5 of 24 from the three-point line and recorded just eight assists as a team.

Central Methodist was led by Lanay Rodney who finished with a game-high 31 points and 13 rebounds.

"This game definitely does not define our season," Leuzinger added. "We will now wait to see if we have the opportunity to continue our season."

Evangel who entered the Heart Tournament receiving votes in the last NAIA Coaches' Poll will wait to see if it receives an at-large berth to the NAIA National Tournament, March 18-24, in Billings, Montana.

The selection show of the 32-team tournament will be revealed on Wednesday, March 11, at 6 p.m. on the NAIA Facebook page.

For the latest information on Evangel Athletics, follow the Crusaders on Facebook at Facebook.com/EUAthletics or go to www.EvangelAthletics.com. Fans can also receive updates on the team by downloading the Go Evangel Front Row App at EvangelAthletics.com/FrontRow available on Google Play and in the App Store. 

---www.EvangelAthletics.com---