McKeon, Skylights win NAIA opener

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kacie McKeon picked a pretty good time to have one of the best games of her college career.

The Butte Central graduate came off the bench to score 14 points Wednesday to help No. 6-seeded MSU-Northern knocked off No. 3 Columbia College 56-55 in the first round of the NAIA Division I women’s basketball tournament. Stats

The Skylighits (22-9) will face No. 2 Oklahoma City at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Oklahoma City beat Langston (Okla.) 79-71 in the first round Wednesday.

Trailing 55-51, Northern’s A’Jha Edwards hit a basket with 2 minutes, 43 seconds to play, and Taylor Cummings followed a minute later to tie the game at 55. Rachelle Bennett hit 1-of-2 free throws with 14 seconds left to take the lead and held off the Cougars on a last-second shot by Heather English to secure the victory.

Edwards scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both game highs, to lead the Skylights. Taylor Cummings scored seven points, while Megan Feldman and Bennett each scored six.

Butte High graduate Natalee Faupel pulled down four rebounds and dished out two assists for the Skylights, who are coached by former Butte High girls’ coach Chris Mouat.

Janairrika Bland’s 12 points paced Columbia College, which closed the season at 26-8.

Also Wednesday, Caelyn Orlandi scored 25 points as No. 4-seeded Lewis-Clark State College beat No. 5 Wayland Baptist University 85-79 in the first round. Stats

With the win, the Lewis-Clark State (27-5) has now advanced to the second round in each of their last four national championship appearances (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014).

Three teams from the Frontier Conference made the national tournament. Conference champion Westminster College will play William Woods (Mo.) on Thursday. Schedule

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