After William Woods lost in the first NAIA Division I women’s basketball game of the national tournament, three more Missouri schools opened with their first round games and suffered defeats sending all four of our schools home after one game.

Oklahoma Baptist University rebounded from a 16-point deficit early on to defeat William Jewell (Mo.) College, 64-57, in the first round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship in Jackson, Tenn. The Lady Bison fell behind 18-2 to open the game, but rallied their way to a seven-point victory.

Oklahoma Baptist’s Gabriell Mattox got the Lady Bison on the scoreboard just 12 seconds in to the game, but it was all Cardinals over the next 8:43. After Erica Ferguson tied the score with a field goal at the 19:33 mark, Jessica Stewart rattled off six straight points to put William Jewell up six. The Cardinals stayed hot, scoring 10 more points to force a Lady Bison timeout at the 12:28 mark in the first half down 18-2.

After the timeout, OBU went on a 14-0 run of its own to pull within two points, 20-18 with 6:13 left in the first half. The Cardinals rallied to push their lead to as many as 10 points, before settling for a 29-21 lead at the intermission.

Both squads exchanged baskets to start the second half, until OBU was able to start chipping away at the Cardinal lead. By the 9:00 minute mark in the second half the Lady Bison had taken a seven-point lead, their largest of the game. William Jewell was able to force a tie at 50-50 at the 5:48 mark, but the Lady Bison were too much, hitting enough free throws down the stretch to hold off the Cardinals, 64-57.

William Jewell’s Hillary Adams scored 22 points for the Cardinals in a losing effort. Jessica Stewart and Erica Ferguson added 13 and 10 points, respectively, for WJC. William Jewell ends its season 26-8.

Bethel (Tenn.) University earned its first NAIA tournament win with a 61-56 victory over Columbia (Mo.) College in the first round of the 2010 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Bethel Lady Wildcats are making their second straight appearance and second trip overall to the Division I national tournament.

Columbia opened the game with a 7-1 run, including the first four points of the contest. Bethel went almost seven minutes to start the game without a field goal until Nina Djokovic ended the drought with a basket at the 13:28 mark.

Despite the slow start from Bethel, Columbia was not able to take advantage. The Lady Wildcats slowly chipped away and after a couple of ties, Bethel took their first lead, 24-23, at the 4:28 mark of the first half. Bethel pushed first-half lead to as many as four points, including the 30-26 halftime lead.

In the second half, Columbia outscored Bethel 7-2 to regain a 33-32 lead in just over a minute of play. Over the remainder of the second half, the teams produced five ties and six lead changes with no lead greater than four points until the final seconds.

Columbia was led by Janita Session with 13 points and Whitney Widaman with 12 points. Veronica Smith and Denise Rosario each added 10 rebounds. The Cougars shot 36 percent from the field and 27 percent (3-11) from long range.

Saint Xavier (Ill.) University advances to the second round with an 81-71 victory over Evangel (Mo.) University in the 2010 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Cougars pulled away in the second half to record their 13th consecutive win.

Like most of the earlier games in the day, the first half was a back-and-forth affair with neither team taking a lead larger than five points. The teams combined for seven ties and seven lead changes in the first half alone.

St. Xavier opened the second half on a 13-4 run to take a 47-40 lead at the 14:53 mark. Evangel responded with a 7-0 run of it’s own to tie the game at 47 with 12:15 remaining in the game, but it would be as close as they would come the rest of the way. Evangel finished its season at 23-10.