Levi Convirs, Sports Information Director
SALINA, Kan. – The No. 22-ranked Friends University Falcons wrapped up their second straight KCAC regular season championship in grand fashion by producing a season-high point total in defeating the Kansas Wesleyan University Coyotes 100-86 tonight (Feb. 7) at the Mabee Arena in Salina, Kan.
The victory keeps the Falcons rolling with 10 straight wins to move to 19-7 overall and 17-2 within the KCAC.
Along with the conference title, the Falcons have now earned their third straight NAIA DII National Championship Tournament berth, to be held Mar. 7-13 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
It was tight throughout much of the opening half as the Falcons and Coyotes played to a 44-44 gridlock at the break.
With the game in its 10th tie at 54-54 with 4:01 left in the third quarter, the Falcons began to assert themselves as Makenzie Vining connected from beyond the arc to ignite a 13-2 run and put Friends up 67-56.
It was 71-63 heading to the fourth period and the edge remained at eight when the Falcons, tasting a championship, put it away by embarking on a 14-5 burst that was capped by consecutive threes by Lexi Evans that put Friends at the century mark for the first time this season and only the second time since at least the 2003-04 season.
Evans fueled the Falcons’ offensive efforts tonight, catching fire from the perimeter to tie her career-high with seven threes to go along with a team-high 21 points.
The Falcons were also balanced offensively, with Betty Akathiotou scoring 20 and Vining adding 16 and a career-high tying five assists.
Laramie Edens put in 14 points and Yowana Posey added 10. Posey and April Quiroz also each pulled down seven rebounds to lead Friends.
Gabbie Miller led the Coyotes (14-13, 11-8 KCAC) with 23 points and nine boards.
Friends outrebounded KWU 36-35 overall while holding a 42-38 edge in points in the paint and a 19-16 advantage in second-chance points.
The win puts an exclamation point on the Falcons’ recent dominance through the league. After tonight’s victory, the Falcons have now won 43 of their last 46 conference games dating back to the last five outings of the 2015-16 season.
The Falcons will next return home and host Sterling College Saturday evening (Feb. 10) at 5 pm inside the Garvey PE Center.