The Dordt Defender women’s basketball team dug itself a deep hole and was unable to sustain its comeback try in falling 86-72 in the first round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship played in Sioux City, Iowa on Wednesday, March 6.
Dordt led briefly at 4-3 but the RedHawks built a 20-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Dordt got to within five twice early in the second quarter and trailed 24-19 after a Rachel Evavold basket with 8:33 left in the half. Five unanswered points by Indiana Northwest put them up by double figures and the lead eventually grew to 43-25 as Dordt struggled from the floor and the RedHawks converted 6-9 three-point baskets in the first half for a 45-28 halftime lead.
Dordt started its rally with back to back three-point baskets by Payton Harmsen and finally got the lead down to single digits with a Jordyn Van Maanen steal and basket with 2:46 left in the third period and the score at 54-46. The lead was still eight at 56-48 with 1:51 left in the period before Erika Feenstra converted a basket and Van Maanen had two more field goals to get the margin down to 56-54 entering the final period.
A basket by the RedHawks seemed to stem the comeback but Dordt got a three-point basket by Annie Rhinesmith on the ensuing possession and she converted an old-fashioned three-point play for a 60-59 lead with 7:59 left in the game. It was the only lead Dordt held in the second half as the Red Hawks tied it with a free throw and then took the lead at 62-60. Dordt tied the game at 62-62 on a Kenzie Bousema basket but a deep three by the RedHawks started a 9-0 run that ended with Association of Independent runner-up leading 71-62 with 5:07 left. An Evavold basket stopped the run but Dordt never got closer than that seven point difference the rest of the game and fell 86-72 in its first ever berth in the National Championship.