The Northwestern College women’s basketball team won its third straight NAIA Division II women’s basketball national championship with a 75-62 win over #3 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. The Red Raiders have an NAIA record five national championships, winning four of the last five.
Northwestern started fast, scoring the first eight points of the game, and held a 20-8 lead after a Val Kleinjan three-pointer at the 10:27 mark. Kami Kuhlmann scored 12 of the first 20 points for the Red Raiders, who held Ozarks to just three field goals over the first 11 minutes.
Both teams shot under their season average over the first 20 minutes. Northwestern shot 39% from the field and was led by Kuhlmann with 16 points at the break. Ozarks shot 29% and was led by MCAC player of the year, Morgan Smith, with 11 points.
NWC pushed the lead to nine in the early stages of the second half but a 9-0 Bobcats run tied the game at 48 and Ozarks missed on a chance to take its first lead of the game after a missed three-point attempt by Maranda Vaught with under 13 minutes left. Northwestern responed with a 5-0 run and gradually built the lead back up to seven (62-55) on a basket by Samantha Kleinsasser. Ozarks made it a five-point game (64-59) after a basket by Vaught but the Red Raiders scored the next seven points, using outstanding defense to hold the Bobcats scoreless for three minutes, and went on to win their fifth national championship, 75-62.
Northwestern shot 40% from the field and was led by tournament most valuable player, Kami Kuhlmann, who scored a game-high 27 points, The senior closes out her outstanding career in sixth place all time with 2,028 points and in fifth place all-time at the national tournament with 292 points. Kendra De Jong recorded her fifth straight double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, earning all-tournament honors. Samantha Kleinsasser added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Ozarks was led by Morgan Smith, who carried the Bobcats offense with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Maranda Vaught added 16 points, going just 2-for-12 from the three-point line Ozarks shot 31% and was held to 19% from the three-point line. They finish the season with a 33-4 overall record.
Kuhlmann was named tournament most valuable player and De Jong was named to the first team.
Kelsey Combs, College of the Ozarks (Mo.)
Kendra De Jong, Northwestern (Iowa)
Jennifer Jorgensen, Grand View (Iowa)
Kami Kuhlmann, Northwestern (Iowa)
Katie Rich, Concordia (Neb.)
Morgan Smith, College of the Ozarks (Mo.)
Korrie Bourn, Eastern Oregon
Kristen Conahan, Concordia (Neb.)
Kelsey Evans, Briar Cliff (Iowa)
Bria Fields, Mount Mercy (Iowa)
Krystal Stoneking, Indiana Wesleyan
Most Valuable Player:
Kami Kuhlmann, Northwestern (Iowa): 22.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.6 spg, 32/37 FT (86.5%) in 5 games