SIOUX CITY – Losing in the first round of the NAIA Division II National Women's Basketball Championship the last couple of years didn't sit well with Hastings College.
Especially since the program reached four national title games, winning three.
The Broncos snapped their brief run of misfortune Wednesday, holding off Lawrence Tech (Mich.) 57-49 at the Tyson Events Center.
“My first two years here we lost in the first round, so I think this says a lot about us and where we're heading as a program,” third-year Hastings Coach Jina Douglas said. “When our seniors were freshmen we made it to the Final Four. You don't expect to make it to the Final Four every year but you expect to win a game or two, so I'm happy for them.”
No. 12 Hastings (25-6) jumped to a 12-0 lead in the first minute of the game and as it turned out, that was quite beneficial.
“That helped but then Shandra (Farmer) and Rachel (Jelden) each got two fouls and that kind of shifted things a little bit,” Douglas said. “Usually we try to have those two kids on the court at the same time or at least one of them but both sat out and I was hesitant to put either one back in the way they were calling the game.”
Farmer, an All-Great Plains Athletic Conference first-team pick, played 23 minutes and scored a game-high 20 points. Mackenzie Willicott contributed 11 points and eight rebounds while Gabby Grasso came off the bench to tally 10 points and six boards in 16 minutes.
Hastings, which plays in a second-round game at 7 p.m. Friday, had to fend off a couple of rallies. Lawrence Tech came all the way back to within two points in the second quarter before the Broncos went on a mini-run and led 27-22 at halftime.
The Blue Devils pulled within a point early in the third quarter before one of Farmer's four 3-pointers ignited a 7-0 run. Hastings broke for the third quarter with a 40-33 advantage.
“They are real aggressive on the offensive boards, we knew that coming in and in a zone it's kind of difficult to match up and find a man to box out, so they started to burn us a couple times and made a little run,” Farmer said. “To come out and start out really strong to kind of scare them a little bit, then we were able to not let that run of theirs extend past us. We buckled down a little bit.
“We have girls who can come in and make plays and we did. We got stops when they started going on their little runs and that's all you can ask for.”
Hastings flexed its muscles on defense, harassing Lawrence Tech into a 22-percent shooting effort. The Broncos rank second in the nation in scoring defense at 54.9 points per game.
“It's kind of what you would expect from two teams that give up 57 and 53 points a game,” Douglas said. “Not a pretty game, but we'll take it. We gave up a few offensive rebounds but for the most part our defense was pretty good.”
Lawrence Tech closed its season at 25-7. The Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference squad made 19 of 20 free throws and was paced by Nicole Buckingham with 18 points.