Quarterfinals of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship
Mar 15, 2023
SIOUX CITY, Iowa –The semifinals are set for the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship inside the Tyson Events Center as the four teams in Central Methodist (Mo.), Clarke (Iowa), Dakota State (S.D.) and Thomas More (Ky.) punched their ticket with wins in the quarterfinal round.
Central Methodist (Mo.) def. Marian (Ind.) 52-48
The first quarterfinal game of the day proved to be a tightly contested contest from start to finish. The defensive battle began in the first quarter, and through the first half, as the Marian (Ind.) Knights held an eight-point halftime lead over top-seeded Central Methodist (Mo.) in the Naismith Quadrant. The Eagles would use an 18-10 third quarter to draw even heading into the final 10 minutes of play. In a low-scoring final frame, CMU’s Leah Johnson paced the Eagles with six points in the quarter, as Central Methodist pulled out the four-point victory to secure the first spot in the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship quarterfinals.
Season Records: Central Methodist 35-0 | Marian 29-6
Marian’s Ella Collier led all scorers with 20 points, while dishing out six assists.
Top scorers for the Eagles were Leianya Massenat and Leah Johnson with 17 and 16, respectively.
Johnson also added 14 rebounds for a double-double, with eight of them coming on the offensive glass.
Marian held the edge in rebounding by eight (Marian 37 | CMU 29).
CMU recorded 10 steals in the victory, as Zutorya Cook led the team with her four steals.
The Eagle starting five recorded 50 of the team’s 52 points in the contest.
Marian held the advantage in field goal percentage (Marian 40.0% | CMU 34.4%).
Central Methodist extends their win streak to 35 games and are making their second-straight trip to the semifinals.
Clarke (Iowa) def. Campbellsville (Ky.) 76-51
It was the Pride of Clarke University (Iowa) who jumped out to a fast 10-0 lead early in the second quarterfinal game of the day. Clarke led by as many as 11 points in the opening quarter as Clarke put up 26 points in the period. A 5-0 spurt would gave the Pride a 15-point halftime lead as the team shot 53.1% from the floor in the first half. The Pride maintained control in the third quarter and pushed the lead over 20. Clarke rode the momentum built through the fourth quarter to punch its ticket to the semifinal round for the first time in program history.
Season Records: Clarke 31-4 | Campbellsville 31-3
Emma Kelchen of Clarke (Iowa) led all scorers with her 14 points, while also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds, for the lone double-double of the contest.
Campbellsville’s Sarah Sutton led the team with nine points.
Giana Michels of Clarke recorded a game-high seven assists in the victory.
Five Pride scored in double digits in the victory, with four of the five being starters.
The Pride were efficient from the free throw line, shooting 84.0% as a team (21-for-25).
Clarke advances to the semifinal round for the first time in program history.
Dakota State (S.D.) def. Indiana Wesleyan 71-70
Indiana Wesleyan took the opening tip for a fast layup, but then it was Dakota State (S.D.) who scored nine of the next 11 points. The Trojans pushed their lead up to 10 points early, but the Wildcats used a 5-0 run to cut it to five heading to the second quarter. The Wildcats put up 23 points and took a six-point lead into the locker room at the break. IWU maintained their halftime lead throughout the third quarter, but the Trojans had a late push to cut it to a three-point game heading to the final quarter of play. Dakota State drew even a minute and a half into the quarter and, eventually, took its first lead since the first half, as part of a dominant 19-4 run. Down two with 30 seconds left, Caitlin Dyer (DSU) nailed a three-point shot to take a one-point lead, which proved to be the game-winning bucket that sends the No. 6-seed from the Liston Quadrant to the semifinal round of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship.
Season Records: Dakota State 29-6 | Indiana Wesleyan 31-4
Lilli Frasure of IWU had a game-high 21 points to go along with her team-high five assists.
Savannah Walsdorf of DSU dropped 20 points in the victory, along with five rebounds and four steals for the Trojans.
Dakota State’s Elsie Aslesen had a game-high nine rebounds and six blocks.
Just six Trojans put points on the board in the game with three of them having notched double digits.
Both teams shot 50.0%+ from the floor with DSU holding the slight edge (DSU 51.2% | IWU 50.0%).
The Trojans shot 36.8% from 3-point range (7-for-19).
DSU notched seven team blocks to IWU’s one.
Thomas More (Ky.) def. Montana Western 66-62
Thomas More (Ky.) used the three-point ball to go on a 13-4 run to take control of the game early in the first quarter. The Bulldogs came within five points by the end of the opening period and two minutes into the second, pull within a point. In a back-and-forth second half, the lead changed hands multiple times. It remained a one-possession contest most of the fourth quarter, but the Saints took a seven-point lead with a minute left. Thomas More hit their free throws down the stretch to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship for the third-straight season.
Season Records: Thomas More 30-3 | Montana Western 28-6
Alex Smith led all scorers with her 24 points off the bench for Thomas More, shooting 9-for-13 from the field.
Shainy Mack of UMW led the team with her 17 points.
Zoie Barth of TMU scored 10 points while bringing down 11 rebounds for a double-double, while also dishing out a team-high seven assists.
Just six Saints put points on the board in the game with three of them having notched double digits.
Montana Western outshot Thomas More from the floor (TMU 36.8% | UMW 44.7%).
Both teams shot above 30% from three-point range (TMU 35.5% | UMW36.0%), while the Saints made 11 to Montana Western’s nine.
The TMU victory marks their 30th win of the season, marking 30 wins in a season for the second-straight year.