Bruins women finish season, get first playoff game win

The Bruins women’s basketball season came to a close Friday, March 14, with a 64-44 loss to Emmanuel College in the NCCAA DI South Regional Playoffs. The Bruins stayed in the tournament for two games, winning their second playoff game in the program’s history.

The first game began Thursday against No. 5 seed Columbia Rams resulting in a 62-43 win. BJU faced the Rams twice in the season, taking the win both times with double-digit victories. The Bruins came off of a three-game losing streak before the first regional game, but put that behind them and focused domination over Columbia.

BJU executed the outside shots and 3-pointers to gain the lead and put the Rams behind in the first half. The Bruins kept the lead for the rest of the game, breaking Columbia’s chance for a victory. At the end of the half the Bruins remained on top by double digits, 37-19.

The Rams’ hopes for a victory continued to diminish as the scoreboard racked up points for the Bruins. Three-pointers by senior Trisha Irving, senior Kim Spiecker, and sophomore Hannah Tompkins kept the Bruins on the path for victory. The buzzer sounded, and the Bruins were off to the next round with a 62-43 victory in their bag.

“For [Columbia], we knew what to expect, and having two weeks devoted to practicing was really good for us. We implemented a lot of screening into our offense, which was cool to play these last few games to see how we’ve improved. That helped us a lot in the CIU game, but we knew we would have to play better against Emmanuel.”

Like Columbia, the Bruins had competed against Emmanuel College twice in the regular season, losing both times by double digits. In the first half, the Bruins’ defense slowed Emmanuel down, but Emmanuel gained the lead and left the Bruins behind. With less than 10 minutes to go, Emmanuel led 21-9. BJU made up some ground with free throws and points in the paint, and the score was 28-19 at the end of the half.

The Bruins gave the second half their all and cut the score to 28-25, but Emmanuel held on and handed the Bruins a 64-44 loss to end the season.

“I think we finished our season strong,” Irving said. “We fought hard to the last minute. Our defense for the first half of the game was the best defense we’ve had. We had great help and good communication. We had to fight for every ball. It was a good hard game.”

Jeffcott led the Bruins in points this season, totaling 352, and Spiecker followed with 286 points. Spiecker led in 3-pointers with 43, and sophomore Maggi Ford followed close behind with 33.

Hoefler dominated rebounds with 246, and Jeffcott added 213.The Bruins finished with a 19-11 record, consisting of two four-game winning streaks, racking up a total of 1,876 points.  Jeffcott and Spiecker totaled 75 and 57 points at the free throw line, respectively.