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NORTH STAR WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP-Dakota State’s Dramatic Rally Caps Emotional Week With Title Win Over Bellevue

With Assistant Coach Jamal Branco On Bench Days After His Father’s Passing The Trojans End Game On 30-10 Run To Win 80-72
Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 11:56 PM CST
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MADISON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - An emotional week for the Dakota State women’s basketball team came to a close in perhaps the most stunning, and fitting, way imaginable.

Trailing for most of the North Star Tournament Championship against Bellevue, DSU entered the fourth quarter down 62-50. They would dominated that final frame, outscoring the Bruins to 30-10 to win 80-72 and claim the championship, earning their first bid to the NAIA National Tournament since 2008.

It capped an emotional 48 hours since the death of Dakota State assistant coach Jamal Branco’s father. Branco’s father was giving a pre-game address to the Trojans prior to Thursday’s semifinal with Mayville State when he collapsed during it, passing away later. Branco was on the Dakota State bench for the championship with his mother, brother and family in front row seats across the way.

Morgan Koepsell led all scorers with 20 points. Jessi Giles scored 18 and both Courtney Menning and Savannah Walsdorf scored 15.

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