MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-- Despite missing their first eight shots the Rams found a way to will themselves to victory to keep their season alive on Friday night. After falling behind with an early scoring drought that lasted nearly the first five minutes of the game, NCU eventually pulled away for a 68-47 victory over Providence University-College in the semi-final of the NCCAA Regional Tournament to earn a spot in Saturday afternoon's region championship game.
North Central (9-17) found themselves down 11-4 after the first seven minutes of action on Friday. The slow start saw NCU hit just two of its first 11 shots before junior Jorie Grenell (Lakeville, Minn./Spring Lake Park) connected on a three point shot to begin a big scoring night that helped carry the Rams to a victory. That three brought the score to 11-7 in favor of Providence (Otterburne, Manitoba) and started a run that eventually gave the Rams their first lead of 13-11 at 9:47 of the first half on a pair of free throws from Grenell.
The teams would exchange the lead over the next several minutes before NCU took the lead 22-21 on a lay-up from freshman Shelby Norman (Winsted, Minn./Watertown-Mayer) with 3:50 left in the half. NCU would never trail again in the game. North Central would take a 33-23 lead to the locker room and that would be as close as the game would be for the duration.
Jorie Grenell led all scorers with 23 points along with 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists. Senior Elisabeth Trickey (Waseca, Minn./Waseca) added 13 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 3 steals.
Senior Heidee Kollenda (Menominee, Mich./Menominee) led the Rams with 7 rebounds.
The Rams will advance to tomorrow's NCCAA Regional Championship game against Trinity Bible College (Ellendale, N.D.). Trinity is the top regional seed and defeated Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, Iowa) 73-33 in the other region semi-final.
The Lions are the defending region champion after defeating North Central in the championship game last season to stop the Rams streak of five straight region banners.
The championship game tips off at 1 p.m. in Minneapolis.