SIOUX CITY, IOWA – A combination of injuries and running into the hottest team in the tournament ended a record-setting season for Iowa Wesleyan College, which lost to top-seeded Northwestern (Iowa) College 89-72 in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday at the Tyson Events Center.
The third-seeded Tigers fell far behind in the first half and were unable to come all the way back despite a spirited late rally. IWC concluded its longest stay ever in the NAIA tourney and finished the season with a 27-8 record, while Northwestern improved to 29-5 and advanced to a national semifinal game Monday night against either Briar Cliff University or Cardinal Stritch (Wis.) University.
The Tigers lost to a Northwestern team that was shooting better than 50% in the tournament over its first two games, and did not slow down one bit for more than 25 minutes. The Red Raiders shot 55.9% in the first half and hit eight three-pointers, racing to an early 33-13 lead and going to halftime with a 52-32 margin.
While the Red Raiders of the Great Plains Athletic Conference were scorching the nets, the Tigers were hurt by turnovers, injuries and a free throw shooting touch that suddenly left them. IWC committed 12 turnovers in the first half, many unforced, and obtained just seven turnovers from NWC.
The Tigers also were just 2-for-7 from the foul line in the first half, missing several chances at the line after making 24 of 26 free throws the day before against Jamestown. Wesleyan also dealt with a number of injuries to starting players, including leading rebounder Sheray Brown (Jr.-Detroit, Mich.), who was limited to ten minutes after injuring an ankle against Jamestown.
Northwestern remained on fire early in the second half and led by as many as 25 points. The Red Raiders continued to maintain a lead of 20+ points and still led 71-47 after a basket in the paint by Randa Hulstein with 12:28 left.
IWC would show terrific resilience, though, responding with a 19-7 run ended by Jessi Beachey (Jr.-Fisher, Ill.) converting on the fast break to get within 78-66 with 7:20 left. Beachey would finish with 25 points, including 13 in the second half, and the Tigers started to dictate tempo, forcing a number of turnovers and creating a frenetic pace.
Wesleyan was still within 12 at 83-71 when Jill Ginder (Jr.-Olney, Ill.) hit a free throw with 2:46 left in the game. The Tigers continued to disrupt the Red Raiders and keep the pressure up, but could get no closer as two tired teams staggered to the finish line. Ginder missed a three-pointer from the corner with 2:09 left that would’ve cut the lead to single digits, and the long rebound came off to Northwestern’s Becca Hurley, who raced to the other end uncontested for a layup. The Tigers would get no closer the rest of the way.
Beachey posted game honors in scoring and added five rebounds, while Ginder added 14 points and seven rebounds despite missing several minutes in the first half after being knocked out of the game from a shot to the face. Senior Angela Brinkmeyer (Hubbard, Iowa) started in place of Brown and had a fine final game, finishing with 11 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and five steals.
IWC finished shooting 40.9%, making 27 of 66 shots. The Tigers made five three-pointers but were just 13 of 22 at the free throw line (59.1%). Wesleyan also out-rebounded the Red Raiders 42-40.
Northwestern was cooled off in the second half and finished shooting 46.8% (29 of 62). The Red Raiders were 10-for-23 from three-point range (43.5%) and were led by Hurley and Kendra De Jong with 21 points each.
Iowa Wesleyan finished the season with a school-record 27 wins and saw its 16-game winning streak snapped. IWC was one of two Midwest Collegiate Conference teams on Saturday to see its season end. Grand View University also was eliminated on Saturday by Shawnee State (Ohio) University, 75-55, and along with IWC capped a season when the MCC sent two teams to the Elite 8 for the first time in conference history.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Box score #1 NWC 89 #3 IWC 72