SIOUX CITY, Iowa (DSU) – Dakota State used a late game surge to knock off No. 1 seed Indiana Wesleyan 71-70 Wednesday evening, winning the Liston Quadrant’s final and advanced to the first-ever NAIA women’s basketball national tournament’s semifinals in school history at Tyson Events Center. It was the first ever all-time series meeting between DSU and IWU, a member of the Crossroads League.
It was Dakota State’s fourth national quarterfinal appearance in school history.
It was the third consecutive game that the Trojans upset the higher seeds in the national tournament (No. 3 seed Eastern Oregon, No. 2 seed Carroll, Mont., and No. 1 seed Indiana Wesleyan) in the Liston Quadrant. DSU also snapped each team’s longest winning streak (Eastern Oregon – 20-game winning streak, Carroll – 15-game winning streak, and Indiana Wesleyan – 23-game winning streak – a combined 58-game winning streak!).
Dakota State, No. 24 in the final edition of the NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 national poll, became the first North Star Athletic Association member to advance to the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament’s semifinals. The Trojans won fourth straight game – their 20th victory in the last 21 games – and raise their overall record to 29-6, extending their school record victories (29 wins).
Indiana Wesleyan, ranked No. 5 in the final national poll, ended their season with an overall record of 31-4.
Dakota State continues their Cinderella run in the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament as the lowest seed remaining Friday evening. The Trojans face the Heart of America Athletic Conference’s foe Clarke (Iowa) (31-4 overall record) in the national semifinals. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m., with the national championship game scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.
Clarke, No. 7 in the final NAIA national poll, defeated No. 1 seed Campbellsville (Ky.) 76-51 in the Duer Quadrant’s final earlier Wednesday as the No. 2 seed.
(24) Dakota State (S.D.) 71, (5) Indiana Wesleyan 70 – FINAL
- Klair Merrell made a quick layup to kick off the game to give Indiana Wesleyan a 2-0 lead with nine minutes, fifty-six seconds on the clock.
- Three different scorers – Morgan Huber, Elsie Aslesen, and Caitlin Dyer – sparked DSU’s 6-0 scoring run to take a 6-2 lead with 7:31 to go in the first quarter.
- Holding a slim 9-8 lead, Dakota State went on a 9-0 scoring run to earn the first double digit of the game. Savannah Walsdorf made a basket with 1:11 to go in the first quarter to give DSU an 18-8 lead.
- The Wildcats answered with a 5-0 closing run to cut the Trojans’ lead to 18-13 after a 3-pointer by Kelli Damman.
- Dakota State sparked the opening second run with back-to-back 3-pointers from Sidney Fick (assisted by Lilli Mackley) and Dyer (assisted by Courtney Menning) for the biggest lead of the game at 24-13 with 9:05 on the clock.
- IWU stormed back with a monstrous 23-6 run to end the first half (including 13 straight points to take a 26-24 lead with less than four minutes to go in the second quarter).
- Menning ended DSU’s scoring drought with a basket, tying the game at 26-26 with 3:33 left in the second.
- Trailing 36-28, Aslesen hit a pair of free-throws as the Trojans cut the Wildcats’ lead to 36-30 by halftime.
- IWU outscored DSU 23-12 in the second quarter.
- Indiana Wesleyan shot 50 percent in the first twenty minutes of the game (15-of-30 field goals) compared to Dakota State 40.7 percent (11-of-27 field goals).
- A steal by Walsdorf followed by a layup helped the Trojans trimmed the Wildcats’ lead to 40-38 with 7:52 remaining in the third period.
- IWU regained their lead at 48-40 after Jordan Reid’s free-throw with 3:46 on the clock in the third.
- With Indiana Wesleyan lead 50-43 after Sadie Knee’s two free-throws, Dakota State closed the third quarter with a pair of free-throws and a basket by Aslesen to close the gap within three points at 50-47.
- DSU outscored IWU 17-14 in the third period.
- Lilli Frasure started the fourth quarter with a basket to extend IWU’s lead to 52-47 with 9:38 remaining.
- Huber ignited Dakota State’s 12-0 scoring outburst with back-to-back baskets (3-pointer and a basket to tie the game at 52-52 with 8:38 left).
- The Trojans continued its scoring run with Walsdorf’s basket for 54-52 lead with 8:20 on the clock, followed by a 3-pointer by Mackley for 57-52 lead with 7:39 to go, and closed with a basket by Huber for 59-52 lead with less than seven minutes to go.
- With DSU leading 63-57, the Wildcats went on a 6-0 scoring run to tie the game at 63-63 after Frasure’s basket with 3:02 left.
- Walsdorf answered with a 3-pionter (assisted by Dyer) as the Trojans regained their lead at 66-63 with 2:44 on the clock.
- Indiana Wesleyan with a quick 5-0 run to regain their lead at 68-66 after Merrell’s 3-pointer with 1:49 to go.
- Walsdorf followed up with a basket as Dakota State tied the game for the sixth time at 68-68 with 1:34 remaining.
- Jordan Ried nailed down a pair of free-throws with 1:20 left to put Indiana Wesleyan up 70-68.
- Both teams were unable to score on their next possession. IWU’s Damman missed a 3-pointer with less than 40 seconds left and was rebounded by DSU’s Dyer.
- Dyer, the North Star Athletic Association Freshman-of-the-Year, hit the game-winning clutch 3-pointer shot from the wing with 18.6 seconds remaining as DSU grabbed a 71-70 lead.
- Frasure missed a shot for the Wildcats on the next possession as the Trojans regained possession. DSU called a timeout with 4.8 seconds to go.
- Indiana Wesleyan, with no timeouts remaining in the game, committed two fouls to send DSU’s Menning to the free-throw line with 2.4 seconds left.
- Menning missed both attempts and was rebounded by IWU’s Reid as their desperate missed shot from the backcourt does not count as the Trojans secured a historic victory in school history.
- Dakota State outscored Indiana Wesleyan 24-20 in the final quarter.
- The Trojans shot a blazing 51.6 percent from the field in the second half (16-of-31 field goals), including 6-of-13 from the 3-point arc. The Wildcats shot 46.2 percent from the field in the final twenty minutes (12-of-26 field goals).
- Walsdorf paved the Trojans’ offense attack with 20 points (8-of-13 field goals). She grabbed five rebounds and stole the ball four times. Aslesen added 12 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. She also tied a career-high six blocks in the game.
- Huber tallied 11 points and recorded three steals for Dakota State. Slattery scored nine points and earned four rebounds off the bench. Dyer had eight points and contributed six assists. Menning had five points and four assists. Mackley had three points and three assists. Fick had three points and two rebounds.
- Frasure led the Wildcats with 21 points on her 9-of-14 field goals. She also dished out five assists. Reid added 17 points off the bench. Jade Nutley had 10 points and six rebounds. Damman and Merrell each had eight points. Merrell stole the ball three times.
- Dakota State shot 46.6 percent overall from the field (27-of-58 field goals) compared to Indiana Wesleyan 48.2 percent (27-of-56 field goals).
- The Trojans hit 10 3-pointers in 29 attempts compared to the Wildcats 4-of-18 3-pointers.
- IWU converted 12-of-15 free-throws, while DSU was 7-of-11 free-throws.
Indiana Wesleyan had a slim rebounding advantage over Dakota State (27-25).