De Jong, Blum Propel Red Raiders Into Quarterfinals

Kassidy De Jong scored 20 points and Sammy Blum added 17 in the Red Raiders 83-70 win over #20 Indiana Wesleyan in a second round match-up played Friday night at the 2019 NAIA Division II Basketball National Championship. This year’s event is being played at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

With Friday’s victory, Northwestern improves to 12-3 in second round appearances and advance to its 12th national quarterfinal. The Red Raiders move on with a 28-4 overall record.

De Jong led the way, scoring 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting, to go with seven rebounds. Blum went a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc and joined De Jong in double figures with 17. Both Haley Birks and Taylor VanderVelde scored nine and Darbi Gustafson netted eight points and pulled down nine rebounds.

Three pointers by Blum, Bre Schuiteman and a three-point play by Anna Kiel sparked a 15-3 run as Northwestern stormed out to a 15-5 lead. The teams traded baskets over the final four minutes of the first quarter, resulting in a 21-12 Northwestern lead.

Two more three-pointers by Blum at the start of the second quarter pushed the lead to 16 (29-13) before Indiana Wesleyan rallied to get within three (41-38) following a three-pointer by Margot Woughter with 41 seconds left. Haley Birks scored on a putback to put the Northwestern lead at 44-38 by halftime.

Northwestern took control in the third, outscoring the Wildcats 22-12 over the 10-minute stretch for a 66-50 advantage. De Jong scored seven and Gustafson contributed five during the quarter.

A jumper by Taylor VanderVelde and a three-pointer by Blum gave Northwestern a 20-point lead early in the fourth.

Northwestern shot 45% for the game and a season-best 80% from the three-point line, making 8-of-10 three’s. Coach Yaw’s squad had a slim 37-33 edge on the boards, led by Gustafson with nine and De Jong with seven. Birks contributed five assists, matching her career-high.

Woughter led Indiana Welseyan with 27 points and five assists and Nicole Ignasiak added 16. The Wildcats close the season with a 21-13 record.

Next Game for Northwester will be againstĀ College of the Ozarks (Mo.) atĀ 8:00pm Saturday night.