SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A sweet comeback put the Indiana University East women's basketball team in the round of 16 at the national tournament for the first time.

IU East rallied from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit for an 85-80 win against Purdue University Northwest on March 9 in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship at the Tyson Events Center.

IU East, the No. 5 seed in the tournament's "Cramer Bracket," improved to 29-5. Purdue Northwest, the bracket's No. 4 seed and the No. 14 in the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball Coaches Poll, finished 24-9.



KEY MOMENTS

* IU East fell behind by eight on two occasions in the fourth quarter, and still trailed 75-69 with less than four minutes to go. IU East then went on a 10-0 run that took less than 90 seconds to go ahead 79-75. Kristen Miller (JR/Ottawa, Ohio) sank two 3-pointers during the surge, including a trey that put the Red Wolves ahead 77-75 with three minutes to go.

* Miller scored on a tough drive on the left side with a minute remaining to make it 81-77.

* After Purdue Northwest cut it to 81-80 on a conventional three-point play, Miller drew a foul with the shot clock running down. She then made two free throws to put IU East ahead 83-80 with 20 seconds to go.

* The Pride missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer from the corner, and Danielle Wells (FR/West Chester, Ohio) made two free throws with 10 seconds remaining to seal the win.

* Purdue Northwest built an 11-point lead in the second quarter. Miller and Tia King (JR/Indianapolis, Ind.) answered with back-to-back 3-pointers to help IU East avoid the early knockout and reduce the Pride lead to four by halftime.

SIGNIFICANT STATS

* Kristen Miller scored a career-high 34 points, unofficially took three charges, and did much of the defensive work to limit Purdue Northwest All-American Cassidy Deno to 10 points below her average.

* Tia King added 23 points for IU East.

* IU East forced 27 turnovers, which offset a 48-37 rebounding advantage for Purdue Northwest.

* IU East is now 70-30 in just three NAIA seasons.

* Darien Thompson scored 29 points for Purdue Northwest, including 20 in the first half.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE

"We took a time out and I told them, 'We're going to win this game. We know what we need to do. We need to pick it up on defense and make sure we're getting into the paint and shooting high-percentage shots and getting to the line.' The girls did that, and that's how you make a run. In a game like this and a tournament like this, you've got to be the last team that makes the biggest run."

"Honestly, I don't care about the points (34 of them from Kristen Miller). She did an amazing job on defense and held one of the best players in the country to half of her points (average), and that was the difference in the game. We do appreciate whatever points she had - great job Kristen (standing a few feet away) - but I'm more proud of you because you got the whole team pumped up and ready to go play defense." - IU East coach Tiffani Selhorst

"We just had to keep attacking. Both teams were in foul trouble. They were attacking us, so we had to keep attacking them. We were mentally tough when it came down to it. We played our game, we stuck to our tempo ... we controlled the tempo in the second half and that's what made the difference at the end of the game. We were confident in each other and ourselves, and that's how we pulled out a big win like this."

"When I came into this game, I didn't care about anything else besides my team's success and me playing my defensive part, and I think it worked out tonight." - IU East's Kristen Miller

UP NEXT

IU East faces reigning national champion Marian University in the Round of 16 on March 10 at 6:15 p.m. (IU East time).