(1) Eastern Oregon 87, (8) Evergreen 49
(2) Lewis-Clark State 91, (7) Corban 48
(3) Southern Oregon 77, (6) College of Idaho 64
(4) Oregon Tech 67, (5) Bushnell 62
5:30 p.m. – Oregon Tech at Eastern Oregon
5:30 p.m. – Southern Oregon at Lewis-Clark State
5:30 p.m. – Lowest Remaining Seed at Highest Remaining Seed

ASHLAND – In a season full of high-intensity defensive gems, the Southern Oregon women’s basketball team found another gear while on the brink of elimination in the quarterfinal round of the Cascade Conference Championships presented by U.S. Bank.

Down eight points with three quarters in the books against No. 6 seed College of Idaho, the No. 3-seeded Raiders scored the first 17 of the fourth to storm back for a 77-64 victory Wednesday at Lithia Motors Pavilion. They forced 29 turnovers on the night and seven during the three-and-a-half minute rally that changed the game.

The Yotes got off just a single shot during the run, which was 18-0 stretching back to the end of the third. Before SOU (23-6 overall) made its move, the Yotes (15-14) were hitting at 50 percent and the Raiders at 34 percent from the field.

“The best thing about this team is they never stop fighting and scrapping even when the shots aren’t falling,” SOU coach Carlotta Kloppenburg-Pruitt said. “I loved watching them compete tonight. They were just determined to do whatever it takes to keep our season alive.”

Junior forward Kami Walk compiled 15 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in her fourth consecutive double-double, but the Raiders got contributions up and down the lineup to advance to the semifinals for the ninth time in 10 seasons.

They’ll play Saturday at No. 10-ranked and No. 2-seeded Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), the regular-season co-champion and the team SOU upset on the road in last year’s CCC title game. Top-seeded Eastern Oregon hosts Oregon Tech in the other semifinal, and both games tip off at 5:30 p.m.

The Yotes – who took SOU to overtime before falling in their regular-season visit to Ashland on Jan. 21 – were on the verge of an upset thanks to Mia Austin, who poured in a game-high 20 points while shooting 6-of-10 from 3, and Kenadee French, who added 14 points and four 3-pointers. French’s transition triple gave them their largest lead at 57-48 with 31 seconds left in the third.

Which is when the Raiders turned their fervor up a notch. Brianna Phiakhamngon, after misfiring on nine of her first 10 field-goal attempts, had three steals and shot 3-of-5 with a pair of 3s in the fourth alone. Makayla Scurlock had two key steals during the rally and scored five in the frame. And Clara Robbins made all three of her fourth-quarter attempts while blocking a pair of shots to finish with 13 points, four blocks and four rebounds.

Phiakhamngon and Danasia Allison both collected five steals, while Scurlock and Emma Schmerbach came up with three apiece. Schmerbach also kept the Raiders in the game early, scoring 10 of her 12 points in the first half as they went into the break down 33-32.

Kalei Iwami added 14 points. Her steal-to-layup sequence gave the Raiders the lead for good at 59-57 with eight minutes left in the fourth, and Phiakhamngon promptly followed with a steal that led to a Robbins layup and, moments later, a dagger 3-pointer.

All told, the Raiders got up 22 more field-goal attempts than the Yotes by forcing 19 more turnovers and collecting nine more offensive rebounds.

They’ll turn their attention to an LCSC team that they played tough in the regular season – having led by six during the fourth quarter in Lewiston and by 10 during the first half in Ashland before dropping both games. The Warriors defeated Evergreen (Wash.), 87-49, in their quarterfinal.​

Content used with permission, compliments of SOU Sports
Photo by Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo


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