CMU Women Win A Thriller Over Marian To Get Back To The Fab Four

Central Methodist is back in the Fab Four after winning a thriller over number 3 seeded Marian (Ind.) 52-48 in the Quarterfinals of the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship tournament Wednesday afternoon in Sioux City, Iowa. The top seeded Eagles trailed 30-22 at halftime, but held the Knights to ten third quarter points to head into the final frame tied at 40. CMU scored the first six points of the fourth quarter, but Marian answered with six straight points to tie the score at 46. The two teams exchanged buckets for a 48-all score and that would be it for Marian. With just a little over a minute remaining, sophomore forward Leah Johnson nailed a 10-foot jumper to put Central ahead. On the ensuing possession, the Knights had an opportunity to tie with a pair of free throws, but were unable to convert with 45 seconds remaining. The Eagles were able to let the clock wind down to under 20 seconds. Sophomore Leianya Massenat nailed a 15-foot contested jumper from the corner to put Central up four.

Massenat led Central’s offense with 17 points along with five rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Johnson secured another double double with 16 points and 14 rebounds and is now just four points shy of 1,000 for her career.

The Eagles punch their ticket to the NAIA Fab Four for the second consecutive season, improving their overall record to 35-0. Marian sees its season come to an end with a final mark of 29-6.

CMU will face the winner from the Cramer Quadrant, (No. 1 Thomas More and No. 3 Montana Western), Friday night at 6:00 in the National Semifinals for a chance to make their first national championship appearance in program history.