According to a news release from Alexandria, La., the Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s women’s basketball team (17-11-10-6) defeated Wayland Baptist University (13-1, 8-0) in the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round finals by a final score of 77-74

Wayland Baptist was the top seed in the Alexandria A Bracket and fourth overall seed in the National Tournament.

The back and forth battle included the Cougars’ Sage Brannon, of Cardington, taking over on offense in the fourth quarter with 14 of the team’s 31 points, including 9-10 shooting from the free throw line.

Brannon hit a huge three to tie the game in the early stages of the fourth and everyone contributed on defense to get key stops. Rebounding in the fourth quarter also proved to be a huge factor for the Lady Cougars.

The Lady Cougars claimed their ticket to the NAIA Round of 16 for the first time in program history. With the win, MVNU snapped the Flying Queens’ 40 game winning streak.

Coach Amanda Short singled out each of the girls noting their contributions to the win “Brannon was huge for the Cougars in the fourth quarter. She finished with 15 points in the game on 2-7 shooting and 1-4 on threes. The difference maker for Brannon was her ability to get to and convert from the line where she went 10-12.”

The Lady Cougars will continue their NAIA National Tournament run in Sioux City, Iowa. MVNU will play against the No 1 team in the Nation in Thomas More on Thursday, March 18 at 1 pm.

Brannon, a 2018 Cardington-Lincoln High School graduate, is the daughter of Bill and Carol Brannon.

By Evelyn Long

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