Drury University's highly acclaimed women's basketball team showed why it is undefeated on Friday night.
The top-ranked contingent in NCAA Division II, Drury roared to a 26-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back in defeating No. 8 seed Kentucky Wesleyan 88-57 in the first round of the NCAA Midwest Regional at Springfield, Mo.
The contest drew 2,147 fans to Drury's O'Reilly Family Event Center.
Hailey Diestelkamp, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Drury, the Great Lakes Valley Conference champion, which improved to 32-0.
Drury dominated the first three periods -- leading 47-22 at halftime and 73-36 entering the final 10 minutes.
Azia Lynch also scored 20 points for Drury, which also got 13 points from Lucia Fernandez. Payton Richards and Brooke Stanfield each added 10 points. Richards dished a game-best 10 assists.
Drury shot 49 percent from the field, hitting 6-of-20 shots from beyond the arc (30 percent), and made 14-of-19 free throws (74 percent).
Kentucky Wesleyan (24-8), which received an at-large bid out of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, got double-digit scoring from Kaylee Clifford, 12, Jasmine Shelt, 11, and Keelie Lamb, 10.
KWC shot 46 percent from the floor, including 28 percent from 3-point range, but was outrebounded 40-26 and turned the ball over 25 times. Wesleyan got to the foul stripe only seven times, making four.
It marked the second victory of the season for Drury over KWC, which dropped a 98-60 decision in their opener back on Nov. 9 at the Pops Duncan Classic in Nashville, Tenn.
KENTUCKY WESLEYAN 9-13-14-21 -- 57
DRURY 26-21-26-15 -- 88
Kentucky Wesleyan (57) -- Clifford 12, Shelt 11, Lamb 10, Wolfe 5, Johnson 5, Martin 4, Grimes 4, Ivers 2, Wright 2, Nolot 2.
Drury (88) -- Diestelkamp 20, Lynch 20, Fernandez 13, Richards 10, Stanfield 10, Holmes 8, Shipley 3, Bernard 2, Edwards 2,