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Dakota State women advance to the Elite 8 at the NAIA National Tournament

Trojans snap Sterling’s 30-game win streak with dominating performance
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 11:05 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY, IA (Dakota News Now) -No. 9 seed Dakota State (S.D.) and No. 8 seed Sterling (Kan.) battled in NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament Round of 16 with a combined of 52-game winning streak Thursday at Tyson Events Center. The Trojans roared to a 28-15 lead after the first quarter and never trailed in the game, rolling to a 91-77 victory.

Dakota State, who extended its school record of 27 wins (27-3 overall record), snapped the longest winning streak of 30-games by Sterling. The Trojans extended its historic winning streak to 23 games and moved on to the national quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.

This year is the first year back to one NAIA Basketball division, where the Trojans are currently 8-6 record all-time in national tournament (6-6 record in Division II, 2-0 record in Division I).

Sterling, a member of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, finished its season with an overall record of 30-1. The Warriors were ranked No. 9 in the final NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 national poll.

Both teams met at DSU Fieldhouse last season, with the Trojans winning by the score of 80-69.

Dakota State (ranked No. 14 in the final national poll last month) is scheduled to face the top-ranked team Thomas More (Ky.) Saturday. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at Tyson Events Center.

(14) Dakota State (S.D.) 91, Sterling (Kan.) 77 – FINAL

  • Dakota State led as many as four points through the first three-and-half minutes before Sterling earned its first lead.
  • A 3-pointer by Bailey Bangert gave the Warriors a 10-9 lead with 5:14 on the clock in the first half. It was the only lead that Sterling held for the game.
  • The Trojans went on an 11-0 outburst to earn a 21-10 lead, capped by a three-point play by Morgan Koepsell. DSU was 4-of-5 from the field, including three consecutive baskets (basket by Morgan Koepsell, followed by a 3-pointer by Courtney Menning, and field goal by Savannah Walsdorf).
  • Dakota State shot 52.9 percent from the field (9-of-17 field goals), stretching its lead to 28-15 by the end of the first quarter. Sterling was held to 33.3 percent (6-of-18 field goals). The Trojans also forced the Warriors to 11 turnovers.
  • DSU held Sterling scoreless for the first three-and-half minutes of the second period, sparking an 8-0 scoring run. Jessi Giles made a basket (assisted by Ashlyn Macdonald) to balloon Trojans’ lead to 36-15 with 6:50 on the clock.
  • Faith Martin ended SC’s scoring drought with 6:32 on the clock (DSU led 36-17).
  • Koepsell made a basket inside the paint (assisted by Macdonald) as the Trojans’ lead grew to 47-22 with less than four minutes left before intermission.
  • Dakota State led 53-33 at halftime, outscoring Sterling 25-18 in the second quarter. The Trojans shot a sizzling 54.5 percent from the field (18-of-33 field goals) and held the Warriors to 34.3 percent (12-of-35 field goals).
  • DSU was also 6-of-12 from the 3-point arc and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line in the first twenty minutes. SC was 2-of-8 from the 3-point line and 7-of-10 free-throws.
  • Dakota State maintained control in the third quarter, leading as many as 27 points. A field goal by Giles (assisted by Walsdorf) gave the Trojans a 71-44 lead with 2:09 left in the third.
  • DSU outscored SC 21-15 in the third quarter, extending Trojans’ lead to 74-48.
  • The Trojans earned its biggest lead of the game at 91-60 after Giles’ basket with 3:51 remaining.
  • Dakota State was 12-of-33 from the field (36.4 percent) in the second half and 11-of-22 free-throws. Sterling shot 40 percent from the field (16-of-40 field goals) and 6-of-13 free-throws in the final twenty minutes.
  • Koepsell produced a double-double of 27 points and pulled down 10 rebounds (game-highs) off the bench for the Trojans. She was 10-of14 from the field and converted 6-of-10 free-throws. Giles added 17 points (7-of-12 field goals) and collected four rebounds.
  • Elsie Aslesen added 14 point (4-of-5 field goals) and grabbed six rebounds for DSU. Walsdorf scored 14 points off the bench. She recorded right rebounds and dished out five assists. Walsdorf stole the ball a career-high eight times.
  • Macdonald contributed a career-high eight assists for Dakota State. She also grabbed nine rebounds. Menning tallied six points, five rebounds, and five assists. Cheylee Nagel had six points.
  • Alexis Theus and Emmiley Hendrixson each scored 15 points for Sterling. Sydney Bangert added 12 points. Bailey Bangert had nine points and three steals.
  • Kylah Comley led the Warriors with six assists. Taya Wilson and Martin each registered two blocks.
  • Dakota State shot 45.5 percent overall from the field, making 30 baskets in 66 attempts. Sterling was 28-of-75 from the field (37.3 percent). The Trojans were 9-of-28 from the 3-point arc, while the Warriors were 8-of-25 3-pointers.
  • The Trojans converted 22-of-35 from the free-throw line (62.9 percent). The Warriors were 13-of-23 free-throws (56.5 percent).
  • Dakota State tied a season-high 53 rebounds (13 offense, 40 defense) compared to Sterling 33 rebounds (8 offense, 25 defense).
  • DSU produced 28 assists in the game, while SC had 22 assists.
  • The Trojans outscored the Warriors 42-32 inside the paint, 13-11 in second-chance points and 48-36 in bench points.

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