SIOUX CITY -- Two-time defending national champion Marian (Ind.) had to hold off a determined St. Thomas (Fla.) squad 70-66 at the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Championship here Thursday.
The Knights, seeded second, shot 38 percent from the field and saw St. Thomas score 22 points off of their 25 turnovers. Marian did go 16 of 18 from the free throw line and hit eight 3-pointers.
Marian (32-2) was led by Kellie Kirkhoff's 19 points and Joana Soeiro's 13. Both players were key cogs in the Knighs' run to the title last season.
St. Thomas (21-10) was paced Samara Augste's 16 points and both Keiana Brooks and Ebony Griffin had 13 points apiece.
Marian will face Hastings Friday at 7 p.m.
COLLEGE OF THE OZARKS 78, ALICE LLOYD 51: College of the Ozarks, making its NAIA-record 24th national championship appearance, was too much for tourney newcomer Aloce Lloyd (Ky.).
Ozarks jumped out to a 44-24 halftime lead and breezed into the second round on Wednesday. Ozarks had four players score 13 points as Kelsie Cleeton had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Cassidy Johnson, Shelby Roberts and Lakin Simmerman added 13 points each and combined for 17 rebounds. Abby Oliver added 11 points.
Alice Lloyd saw Kayla Wilson score 11 points and Hayley Hall had 10.
Ozarks hit eight 3-pointers and went 18 of 22 from the free throw line.
EASTERN OREGON 83, REINHARDT 52: Second-seeded Eastern Oregon put on a stifling defensive display in the second half to down seventh-seeded Reinhardt (Ga.) on Thursday.
Eastern Oregon allowed just 12 second-half points to break open a four-point halftime game to get the victory. Eastern Oregon shot 61 percent in the second half while Reinhardt was 5 for 28, 18 percent, shooting after halftime.
The Mountaineers were led by Mariah Swanson's 19 points and Stormee Van Belle added 15 as two of the five players to reach double figures.
Reinhardt (26-10) got 19 points from Rebecca Cheeks.
Eastern Oregon (31-2) will face Northwestern on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
SAINT FRANCIS 56, VALLEY CITY ST. 47: St. Francis (Ill.), a fifth seed, had three players score in double figures as it picked up the first-round victory over fourth seed Valley City State on Thursday.
The Fighting Saints got 15 points from Kamari Jordan, 11 from Paige Gieseke and 10 from Nichole Davidson as they raced out to a 29-20 halftime lead and played the Vikings even in the second half.
Valley City State (25-5) was led by Lexi Lennon's 16 points but went just 1 of 13 from behind the line.
Saint Francis (21-9) will play No. 1 seed College of the Ozarks at 5:15 p.m. on Friday.