Northwestern Women’s Basketball Team Advances to Championship Game

Date posted - March 13, 2012

Northwestern is heading to the national championship game after they defeated #12 Briar Cliff 79-67 in the semifinals of the NAIA Division II women’s basketball national championship. The Red Raiders advance to their sixth title game where they are 4-1 all-time (won it in 2001, 2008, 2010 and 2011; runner-up in 2000).

The Red Raiders led 38-34 after a back and forth first half that had four ties and eight lead changes. Northwestern totaled 11 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

Briar Cliff scored the first basket of the second half and eventually grabbed the lead after back-to-back jumpers by Christa Stewart at the 15:37 mark. Kendra De Jong scored off a put-back to tie the game at 46 but Kylie Dilla knocked down a three-pointer to give BCU a 49-46 lead.

Two Mel Babcock free throws started what would be a decisive 17-0 Northwestern run that lasted over seven minutes and opened up the largest lead of the game, 63-49, with seven minutes to go. Five different NWC players scored during the run.

A Stewart jumper and another three-pointer by Dilla made it a nine-point game but Kuhlmann put in a three-pointer and two Mackenzie Small free throws pushed the lead back to 13 (70-57). Mattie Murren converted a three-point play to cut it to 12 one last time but Kuhlmann and the Red Raiders would not be denied their third straight trip to the championship game.

Northwestern shot 37% for the game but held a decisive 52-39 advantage on the boards, including 17 on the offensive glass. Kendra DeJong recorded her fourth straight double-double at the tournament with a game-high 22 points and 14 rebounds. Kami Kuhlmann netted 21 points and became the sixth Red Raider women’s player to score 2,000 points in a career. The senior also dished out three assists and totaled a career-high six steals. Samantha Kleinsasser came off the bench to score 11 points and pull down five rebounds.

Kelsey Evans scored all 15 of her points in the first half and shared team-high honors with Kylie Dilla and Mattie Murren. Dilla scored 12 of her points from beyond the arc, going 4-for-11 from long range. The Chargers shot 35% for the game and 34% from the three-point line but committed 25 turnovers. The Chargers close the season with a 25-10 record.

Northwestern will play College of the Ozarks (Mo.)  in the championship game at 8:00pm.

Original story from:http://nwcraiders.com/wbasketball/1112/news/5968

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