SIOUX CITY, IOWA (DSU) – Clarke (Iowa) dominated on the boards Friday evening, outrebounding Dakota State (S.D.) 51-28 for a 79-69 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Semifinals contest at Tyson Events Center. It was the first-ever national semifinal contest for both teams’ programs.
Dakota State’s magical season came to an end at 29-7 overall record, the most overall victories in school history (previously with 27 victories for two straight seasons in 2020-21 and 2021-22), as well as the final NAIA national ranking of No. 24. The Trojans advanced to the national semifinals after knocking off No. 3, No. 2, and No. 1 seeds in the Liston Quadrant.
DSU was the first North Star Athletic Association member to reach the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament semifinal round in conference history.
Clarke, a member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, advanced to the national championship game on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The Pride, who lifted their overall record to 32-4 with the final ranking at No. 7 and No. 2 seed in the Duer Quadrant, will face the defending champion Thomas More (Ky.), who defeated the other Heart’s conference foe and previously undefeated Central Methodist (Mo.) in the first national semifinal Friday evening.
(7) Clarke (Iowa) 79, (24) Dakota State (S.D.) 69 – FINAL
- After both teams struggled to score in the first two-plus minutes, Savannah Walsdorf drove a layup to give DSU its first lead of the game at 2-0 with seven minutes, thirty-seven seconds on the clock.
- The first quarter saw a closely tight contest between the Trojans and the Pride. Trailing 22-18, Angela Slattery drained a 3-pointer (assisted by Morgan Huber) as DSU trimmed CU’s lead to 22-21.
- Courtney Menning hit a 3-pointer as Dakota State rallied back to knot the game at 26-26 with 8:30 to go in the second quarter, sparking a 14-2 scoring run.
- The Pride committed turnovers during the DSU’s scoring run, capped by free-throws from Elsie Aslesen for 37-28 lead with 5:27 to go in the second period.
- The Pride stormed back with a 17-3 outburst in the final 4:46 of the second quarter including 15 straight points. Tina Ubi capped the scoring run with a basket with 23.1 seconds left, giving Clarke a 45-40 halftime lead.
- CU shot 17-of-32 from the field in the first half (52.3 percent) and held DSU to 39.4 percent (13-of-33 field goals) in the first half. The Pride outrebounded the Trojans 26-9 in the first twenty minutes.
- Clarke stretched its scoring run in the early third quarter, scoring the first eight points of the period to complete their monstrous 25-3 scoring run.
- Taylor Haase hit a basket inside the pant to give Clarke their biggest lead of the game at 53-40 with seven minutes to go in the third.
- Menning ended DSU’s scoring drought with a free-throw and hit a 3-pointer after missing the second free-throw, trailing 53-44 with 6:41 on the clock in the third quarter.
- Walsdorf completed a 3-point play as the Trojans trimmed the Pride’s lead to 61-55 with 1:17 remaining in the third period.
- Clarke led 63-57 after three quarters. The Pride outscored the Trojans 18-17 in the third.
- A steal by Caitlin Dyer, followed by her 3-pointer (assisted by Walsdorf) helped Dakota State cut Clarke’s lead to 67-63 with 8:24 remaining.
- Both teams struggled to scored for nearly two minutes, Giana Michels hit a 3-pointer as the Pride ballooned their lead to 71-63 with 6:41 to go.
- Dyer added a 3-pointer as the Trojans trimmed their deficit to 71-66 with 6:05 left.
- No score was made two-and-half-minutes later as Haase nailed down a pair of free-throws for CU 73-66 lead with 3:34 remaining.
- Dakota State was held scoreless for four-and-half minutes, until Aslesen made a basket (assisted by Walsdorf) to snap their scoring drought. DSU trailed 74-68 with 1:41 left.
- Clarke outscored Dakota State 16-12 in the final quarter.
- Aslesen led the Trojans with 14 points in her final career collegiate game. She had four rebounds and two blocks. Walsdorf tallied 13 points and nine rebounds. She dished out five assists and stole the ball three times.
- Menning ended her collegiate career at Dakota State, despite her knee injury in the third period, with 10 points. She was perfect 3-of-3 from the field and 2-of-2 from the 3-point arc. She stole the ball five times. Lilli Mackley had nine points and five rebounds. Dyer tallied nine points off the bench on her 3-of-5 from the 3-point line.
- Slattery scored eight points and contributed two assists off the bench for DSU. Morgan Huber had six points. Sidney Fick had two rebounds in her final career collegiate game at DSU.
- Haase poured in a game-high 24 points off the bench for the Pride. She was 9-of-12 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. She added seven rebounds. Giana Michels added 15 points and three steals.
- Nicole McDermott posted a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for Clarke. She contributed four assists. Ubi added 10 points. Emma Kelchen had eight points and grabbed 13 rebonds.
- The Pride shot 29-of-63 from the field (46 percent) compared to the Trojans 23-of-64 field goals). Dakota State hit 10-of-36 from the 3-point line, while Clarke was 3-of-10 3-pointers.
- CU converted 18-of-21 free-throws compared to DSU 13-of-18 free-throws.
- Clarke collected 17 offensive rebounds compared to Dakota State nine rebounds.
- A season wrap-up of Dakota State women’s basketball 2022-23 season will be featured next week on dsuathletics.com.