SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Second-seeded Taylor University used a 23-0 run spanning 8:44 of the first and second quarters to power past the seventh-seeded Bellevue University women's basketball team 85-48 on Thursday morning in a Duer Bracket First Round match-up of the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament at the Tyson Events Center.
With the victory, Taylor has now won 21-straight to improve to 29-4 and advances to Friday's second round where they will meet the winner of Corban-Tabor at 5:15 p.m.
Bellevue ends their season with an overall record of 23-10.
Elexis Martinez recorded the first National Tournament points in program history with a fadeaway jumper in the paint.
The early portion of the first quarter saw a lot of back-and-forth action with Taylor scoring an early lead. Bellevue traded shots with the Trojans before taking their first lead on a corner trey from Laura Jurek.
Taylor took a 25-11 lead after a period of play on the strength of 14-0 run to end a quarter in which they went 5-of-7 from deep.
The Trojans scored the first nine points of the second quarter, part of a 23-0 run spanning 8:44, to go up 34-11. Bellevue evened things out by out-scoring Taylor 13-11 the rest of the quarter and trailed 45-24 at the half.
After 20 minutes of play, Taylor was shooting a hot 53.8 percent from the floor, 70.0 percent (7-10) from three, and was 10-of-11 at the charity stripe. Kendall Bradbury led the Trojans with 23 points and six rebounds in the first half and Becca Buchs added 11 points.
Martinez led BU at the break with eight points while Jurek and Faith Ross each chipped in five. As a team Bellevue shot just 34.5 percent from the floor, 28.6 percent (4-14) from three, and did not attempt a free throw in the first half.
Taylor pushed the lead to 66-31 headed into the final period, out-scoring BU 21-7 in the third.
Bellevue continued to compete throughout the fourth quarter before finally succumbing by a score of 85-48.
Bradbury finished with 32 points and 10 boards for a double-double to lead Taylor and Buchs contributed 15 in the win. Taylor out-shot BU 58.3-29.8 on the day, including holding a 52.6-22.2 edge from beyond the arc.
Martinez paced Bellevue with 12 points and was joined in double figures by Ross with 11 on the day.
Coach Dave Denly:
"I'm proud of this team and how they have competed throughout the season. We achieved one of our primary goals, which was to win the North Star and qualify for the National Tournament. This senior class has raised the bar for future Bruin teams as we hope to make conference championships and the ensuing trip to Sioux City a regular occurrence for our program."