by Steve Peterson
At the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament, it is not asked how points are scored but how many for a women’s basketball team striving for a National Championship.
Morningside College survived a physical test with College of Idaho, pulling away in the final 10 minutes of play for a 69-47 second round win. The No. 1-ranked Mustangs advanced to the Elite Eight of the tournament with a 30-4 record March 8. The Mustangs returned to the Elite Eight after missing it in 2012.
“Each time we have won the National Championship, there have been one or two games when we did not play well and had to find a way to win. Tonight I thought we played defense well and limited their second shots,” said Sale.
Morningside took a 15-5 lead early on a three-pointer by Bobbi McManaman, but the Lady Yotes fought back for a 42-38 deficit with eight minutes left.
Morningside went on a 27-9 run to finish the contest.
“Chelsie Trask’s three-pointer was huge and then we got the charge call. Then we relaxed. Before we were playing not to lose,” said Sale.
Trask led the Mustangs with a game-high 17 points on six of 11 shooting all field goals. Ashlynn Muhl, back from a knee injury suffered in practice March 2, scored 16 points. Sale said Muhl, a 6-0 sophomore post, did well in the paint area, giving the Mustangs another weapon.
For the Mustangs Shelby Beaudette added 12 points on six of 11 shooting. Hanna Blum scored eight points. McManaman had five points on a two of seven all field goal shooting night, with one of five from three-point range. The senior from Hawarden, a West Sioux alumni, also had four rebounds and one assist.
Muhl said the Mustangs’ depth helped reach the quarterfinal round.
“Most teams have their main players, then their bench but we have great bench players,” said Muhl, who led the Mustangs with nine rebounds but it was not enough to prevent a 49-38 College of Idaho advantage on the boards.
The Mustangs took a 12-3 lead in the first 11 minutes of the game. The Lady Yotes committed six turnovers and made only one of their first 13 shots.
Trask gave the Mustangs a 29-15 lead with a free throw with 2:29 left in the half and the Mustangs had a 31-20 halftime lead.
College of Idaho out-scored the Mustangs 18-11 over the first 12 minutes of the second half. Felicity Jones hoop with 8:14 left in the game closed the gap to 42-38 in favor of Morningside.
The Mustangs went on an 11-1 scoring run to open the gap to 14 points, 53-39 with 4:50 left. Trask, a returning first team All-American, was the main contributor during the run when she scored seven of her game-high 17 points with a three-point field goal, a free throw and a conventional three-point play. Beaudette and Muhl also had baskets in the run.
Morningside continued to pull away as the lead grew to 67-46 on a basket by Allison Bachman in the final minute. A hoop by Kalene Anderson accounted for the final score and largest Morningside margin.
First round win
The Mustangs crushed Webber International University 92-43 on March 6 in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Tournament at Sioux City’s Tyson Events Center/ Gateway Arena.
Muhl, the Mustangs’ top rebounder and a First Team All-Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) player, was sidelined with the knee injury. She had averaged 11.2 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game.
Trask and McManaman each scored 12 points to lead the way. For McManaman, it was her sixth double figure scoring performance off the bench in the last eight games. McManaman, a former Falcon, raised her scoring average to 7.3 points per game with the strong stretch.
Leann Osten and Nicole Rauner scored nine points each. Blum and Bachman had eight, followed by Jessica Tietz and Mandy Osborne with seven each. The eight points by Bachman were a season high.
“Sometimes they kick our butts in practice,” said Trask of the reserves.
With Muhl unavailable, the guards had to do a better job of boxing out for rebounds said Trask.
Both Northwestern and Morningside survived injuries to advance to the second round March 8.
The Red Raiders’ leading scorer, senior Kendra De Jong, suffered an ankle injury in a 92-66 win over Mayville State (N.D.). Mackenzie Small scored 14 points for the Red Raiders. She is a junior from Hinton with family from Akron. Dana Weerheim, a freshman from Hawarden, saw her first national tournament court time and had a rebound and two missed shots in the first two rounds.
De Jong scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds, in a 92-60 second round win against Concordia (Mich.)
The second round win was Northwestern’s 17th straight at Tyson Events Center/ Gateway Arena.
In the quarterfinals, Morningside beat Bethel College 71-60 for a 30-4 record, as McManaman scored 12 points and Northwestern beat Saint Francis (Ind.) 87-77 for a 25-7 record and Small had eight points. Morningside faced Indiana Wesleyan and Northwestern battled Davenport (Mich,) in the semifinals Monday, where both McManaman and Small’s seasons came to an end. Morningside lost 65-64 to Indiana Wesleyan and Northwestern lost 74-68 to Davenport (Grand Rapids, Mich.).