Defeat Evangel To Reach Title Game
In Final Four After Win Against Bethel
Advance To Quarterfinals With Win Against Tabor
Roll Past Davenport In National Tourney Opener
College repeated as the NAIA Division II Women's Basketball
National Champion when it defeated Cedarville University 75-65
in a rematch of last year's title game on Tuesday in Sioux
City's Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena.
defeated Cedarville 87-74 in last year's title game to win
its first-ever national championship, finished the season
with a record of 35-3 to set a school record for victories
in a season.
and the American Mideast Conference (AMC) champions, had a
22-game winning streak come to an end. The Yellow Jackets
had entered the tournament as the No. 1-ranked team in the
nation, while Morningside had been ranked second.
The Mustangs held
Cedarville, the nation's second highest scoring team with
an average of 87.1 points per game, to its lowest scoring
total of the season.
Cloud scored a game-high
28 points for the national champions, including 18 in the
first half. The Mustangs had a 35-1 record over the past two
seasons when Cloud has scored 20 points or more. She was the
Mustangs' leading scorer in all five of their national tournament
contests and the team's top scorer in 14 of their final 16
Cloud was named
the national tournament's Most Valuable Player for the second
year in a row and was joined on the all-tournament team by
teammate Brittany Carper.
Mustang head coach
Jamie Sale was named the NAIA Division II National Coach of
the Year for the second year in a row.
Cloud made five
3-point field goals in the contest, raising her career total
to a school-record 317 3-pointers.
Cloud received double
figure scoring support from Jill Pudenz, who scored 14 points,
and Brittany Carper, who scored 12 point to go along with
game highs of 12 assists and five steals. Vanessa Hasley added
a career-high eight points in her first career start. The
Mustangs completed their scoring summary with seven points
from Jennifer Francescon and three each from Lindsey Chettinger
and Beth Watson.
Aside from her scoring
exploits, Cloud also pulled down nine rebounds, but it wasn't
enough to prevent a 46-34 Cedarville rebounding advantage
as the Yellow Jackets' Emily Delimpo pulled down a game-high
The Mustangs entered
the game without the services of starting forward Kayla Wibben,
who suffered a knee injury during Monday's semifinal round
victory against Evangel University. Her replacement, Hasley,
made a 3-point field goal to open the games scoring at the
18:32 mark of the first half. Pudenz followed with a baseline
jumper to give the Mustangs an early 5-0 lead.
to go on a 13-2 scoring run to open a 13-7 advantage with
13 minutes left.
Cloud answered with
a pair of 3-pointers and Carper made a jumper from the key
to tie the score at 15-15 with 10:18 left in the half. Cloud
then struck from 3-point range again to put the Mustangs in
front 18-15 with 7:32 left. The Mustangs completed a 10-2
run on a layup by Jennifer Francescon to take a 20-17 lead.
After Smart tied
the score at 20 with a 3-pointer, Cloud scored on successive
drives to the basket to put the Mustangs in front to stay
at 24-20. The Mustangs opened their biggest advantage of the
half when Chettinger and Cloud struck for back-to-back 3-pointers
to make it a 39-30 game going into the intermission.
The Mustangs pushed their lead into double figures early in
the second half when Pudenz made a 3-pointer with 18:21 left
to give the Mustangs a 44-34 advantage.
Hasley, who had
made only two 3-pointers all season coming into the game,
struck for her second 3-pointer of the game with 9:16 left
to give the Mustangs an 11-point lead, their largest advantage
to that point, at 58-47. The Mustangs then increased the lead
to a game-high 14 points, 61-47, on a 3-pointer by Cloud with
for complete game statistics.
The 2005 NAIA Division
II National Championship Game will be a rematch of the 2004
title game after Morningside defeated Evangel University 57-45
in Monday’s national tournament semifinals in Sioux
City’s Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena.
The wins sets the defending National Champion Mustangs up
in a rematch with No. 1-ranked Cedarville University, which
scored an 86-73 overtime win against Concordia University
earlier in the evening. Morningside defeated Cedarville 87-74
in last year’s title game to win its first-ever national
The Mustangs, ranked second in the nation, will take a 34-3
record into Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. championship game. Evangel,
which lost 66-43 to Morningside in last year’s quarterfinals,
saw its season end at 30-8. The Crusaders, who were ranked
seventh in the nation and were this year’s champion
of the Heart of America Athletic Conference, had an 11-game
winning streak end.
Megan Cloud scored a game-high 19 points to lead the Mustangs.
She was joined in double figures by Brittany Carper with 13
and Jill Pudenz and Beth Watson, each with 11. Vanessa Hasley
completed the Mustangs’ scoring summary with three points.
Aside from her game-high scoring total, Cloud also came up
with a game-high four steals and paced the Mustangs with six
rebounds. Carper dealt a game-high four assists.
The Mustangs had held the leading scorer from each of their
first three opponents to a single digit scoring total. That
streak ended when Evangel’s Natasha Neal scored 14 points,
but only four came in the second half. Neal, daughter of Evangel
head coach Leon Neal, was the 2005 Heart of America Athletic
Conference Player of the Year and is a two-time first-team
All-American. Neal, who pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds
to lead her team to a slight 29-28 advantage on the boards,
averaged 18.7 points per game during the regular season.
The Mustangs grabbed an early 6-4 lead on 3-pointers by Pudenz
and Cloud before Evangel went on a 9-3 run to open a 13-9
advantage. The Mustangs suffered a major blow during the run
when starting forward Kayla Wibben went down with a knee injury
and had to exit with 12:50 left in the opening half.
Cloud struck for back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Mustangs
leads of 17-16 and 20-18, the last coming at the 9:20 mark.
The score was tied at 20, 22, and 24 before Evangel worked
the ball inside to 6-3 senior center Shaletha Page to take
a 26-24 lead with 2:45 left in the half. It proved to be Evangel’s
final lead of the game, as Morningside regained the advantage
at 27-26 with 57 seconds left on Cloud’s fourth 3-pointer
of the half. Carper then scored on a spin move in the lane
to give the Mustangs a 29-26 lead going into the intermission.
The Mustangs stretched their lead to nine points, 39-30, and
forced Evangel into a time out when Beth Watson made a 3-pointer
with 13:50 left in the game. The Mustangs then pushed their
lead into double figures at 42-30 when Brittany Carper struck
from 3-point range with 13:26 left.
Morningside took its biggest lead of the game at 51-34 on
two free throws by Beth Watson with 7:28 left.
for complete game statistics.
to the Final Four of the 2005 NAIA Division II Women's Basketball
National Tournament with a 72-50 triumph against Bethel College
of Indiana during Saturday's quarterfinals in Sioux City's
Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena.
The Mustangs, ranked second in the nation, will take a 33-3
record into Monday's semifinals. Morningside will face Evangel
University (31-7) at 8 p.m. in the semifinals. The Mustangs
defeated Evangel in last year's quarterfinals en route to
winning the 2004 National Championship.
Bethel, which was unranked, bowed out with a 24-11 record
as the tournament's "Cinderella" team after it had knocked
off No. 5 Dominican University and No. 19 Judson College to
reach the Elite Eight. The Pilots were the last team to make
the tournament field by taking the last at-large berth available.
Megan Cloud scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Mustangs
in scoring for the third game in a row. Jill Pudenz was next
with 16 points behind a seven-for-eight shooting performance
to finish just two shy of her career scoring high. Jennifer
Francescon also scored in double figures with 11 points, followed
by Brittany Carper with eight and Kayla Wibben with five.
Carper led the Mustangs with seven rebounds, but it wasn't
enough to prevent a 42-33 Bethel board advantage.
Carper also had a game-high six assists, while Pudenz led
all performers with six steals. Cloud was right behind with
five thefts. Morningside finished the contest with 23 steals
as it pressured the Pilots into 33 turnovers and a 38.0 percent
shooting performance from the field.
Once again, an outstanding Morningside defensive effort took
the opponent's top scorer out of the game. Bethel's Chasity
Zeller, who poured in 30 points in the Pilots' opening round,
was limited to nine points and a three-for-13 shooting performance.
That came after the Mustangs had held Tabor College's scoring
leader Erica Hemmert to eight points in Friday's second round
and Davenport University's Jennifer Rausch, the nation's seventh
leading scorer, to nine points in the opening round.
Bethel made a strong early showing when it moved in front
11-4. That ignited the Mustangs, who took off on a 12-0 run
to go up 16-11.
Bethel fought back and tied the score at 16-16 on a 3-pointer
by Abby Noll with 11:40 left. The Pilots took there final
lead of the first half, 21-18, when Kristin Sordelet struck
from 3-point range with 9:19 left.
Sordelet's 3-pointer triggered a 16-point Morningside run
that saw the Mustangs push their lead into double figures
for the first time at 34-21.
The Mustangs took the lead for good at 22-21 on a baseline
jumper by Pudenz with 6:35 left in the half. The Mustangs
pushed their lead into double figures on a 3-pointer by Cloud
to go up 32-21 with 4:30 left, then took their largest lead
of the half when Carper capped the scoring run with 3:45 left
to increase the lead to 34-21.
Tiffany Miller scored with 40 seconds left to stop the Morningside
run for the Pilots' first score since the 9:19 mark of the
half to help Bethel fight back within 34-25 by the intermission.
The Mustangs put the game away with a 10-point run to open
the second half and make it a 44-25 game. Morningside pushed
its lead over 20 points when a 3-point play by Cloud at the
13-minute mark made it 52-31.
Morningside stretched the lead to 30 points, 69-39, on a 3-pointer
by Jennifer Francescon with six minutes left for the biggest
difference of the game.
for complete game statistics.
Morningside turned back a stubborn Tabor College team 68-57
in Friday’s second round of the 2005 NAIA Division II
Women’s Basketball National Tournament in Sioux City’s
Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena.
The victory puts the defending National Champion Mustangs
into Saturday’s quarterfinals, where they will meet
Bethel College of Indiana at 3 p.m. Morningside, which was
ranked second in the nation in the final regular season poll,
will take a 32-3 record into the contest.
Tabor, champions of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference
(KCAC), finished the season at 25-6. The Bluejays, who closed
out the regular season with a 19-game winning streak before
losing to Bethany in the KCAC Tournament, were ranked 16th
in the final poll.
Megan Cloud poured in a game-high 28 points for one of the
top individual scoring performances of the tournament thus
far. She also became the Mustangs’ all-time 3-point
field goal leader with three treys to hike her career total
to 305 3-pointers, breaking the former Morningside standard
of 303 career 3-pointers held by 2005 graduate Kate Lokken.
Brittany Carper also scored in double figures with 11 points
to go along with a season’s high 13 rebounds. Beth Watson
was next with nine points, while Jennifer Francescon, Jill
Pudenz, and Kayla Wibben each added six points.
Carper’s 13 rebounds led the Mustangs to a 43-41 advantage
on the boards.
Carper and Cloud shared game honors with seven assists.
Morningside pressured Tabor into a chilly 32.8 percent shooting
performance, but the Bluejays turned the ball over only 17
times against a Morningside team that forced its foes into
an average or 27.9 turnovers per contest entering the tournament.
The Mustangs took a 3-0 lead on their opening possession when
Francescon bombed in a 3-pointer. Cloud dialed home from long
distance on the Mustangs’ next time down the floor to
make it an early 6-0 game.
Tabor closed within 8-7 before the Mustangs struck from 3-point
range again, courtesy of super sub Beth Watson, to go up 11-7.
Watson then struck from 3-point range again to give the Mustangs
a 14-7 lead at the 14:50 mark of the first half.
Tabor hung around, though, and tied the score at 17-17 when
they worked the ball inside to Donya Anderson at the 10-minute
mark. Tabor took its first lead of the game at the 9:10 mark
on a 3-pointer by Erica Dechant to go up 20-17.
That triggered an 11-0 run by the Mustangs, who regained the
lead at 21-20 on a pair of free throws by Wibben with 8:40
left in the half. Wibben eventually capped the 11-point run
with a baseline jumper to make it 28-20.
The Mustangs pushed their lead into double figures for the
first time on a layup by Wibben off an assist from Carper
to go up 32-22 with 6:12 left before taking a 39-30 lead into
Tabor suffered a major blow five minutes into the second half
when its leading scorer, Erica Hemmert, fouled out with only
seven points and her team trailing 44-33.
Morningside opened its biggest lead of the game with 12:50
left when Watson made a 3-pointer to push the Mustangs lead
to 16 points at 49-33. But the Bluejays refused to go away
and scored 12 straight points to close within four, 49-45,
with 10:10 left.
Carper ended the Tabor run with a spin move in the lane.
Tabor trailed by only five points, 58-53, at the four-minute
mark before the Mustangs closed out the game with a 10-4 run.
for complete game statistics.
Roll In National Tourney Opener
defense of its NAIA Division II women’s basketball National
Championship when it toppled Davenport University of Grand
Rapids, Mich., 74-46 in Wednesday’s opening round action
of the 2005 national tourney in Sioux City’s Tyson Events
The Mustangs will take a 31-3 record into Friday’s second
round, where they will meet 16th ranked Tabor College in a
5:45 p.m. contest. The Bluejays, regular season champions
of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, earned their
second round ticket with a 59-57 nail bitter against 18th
ranked Daemen College.
Megan Cloud, the 2005 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC)
Player of the Year, led the Mustangs in the scoring department
with 15 points to go along with game highs of seven rebounds
and six assists. Kayla Wibben was next with 12 points behind
a five-for-six shooting performance. Brittany Carper also
made double figures with 10 points, while Beth Watson and
Jill Pudenz just missed with nine and eight tallies, respectively.
Vanessa Hasley was next with six tallies to match her career
scoring high. The Mustangs completed their scoring summary
with five points from Alisha Willey, three from Kellie Cunningham,
and two each from Jennifer Francescon, Betsy Ingenthron, and
Defensively the Mustangs pressured the Panthers into a dismal
28.5 percent shooting performance and 33 turnovers. Morningside
held Jennifer Rausch, the nation’s seventh leading scorer
with a 20.4-point average, to nine points and only seven field
goal attempts. She was scoreless in the second half. Danielle
French also scored nine points to share team honors with Rausch.
The Mustangs entered the contest with a No. 2 national ranking,
while Davenport, in only the third year of its varsity program,
came in unranked with a 21-12 record. However, the Panthers
did enter the tourney riding a hot streak with seven victories
in their last eight games, including an 81-65 triumph against
the College of St. Scholastica in the title game of the NAIA
Independent Tournament that brought them to Sioux City.
The Mustangs, who shot just 25.9 percent from the field in
last week’s loss against Concordia University in the
championship game of the GPAC Tournament, remained in a shooting
funk in the early going when they made just three of their
first 12 shots while falling behind 14-12 nine minutes into
Morningside tied the score at 14-14 when Pudenz made the front
end of a two-shot foul with 9:21 left in the first half. That
started a scoring run of five straight points by Pudenz that
put the Mustangs on top 18-14.
The Mustangs stretched their lead into double figures with
3:22 left in the half when a 3-pointer by Watson made it 29-19.
Morningside eventually pushed its lead to as many as 14 points,
35-21, after back-to-back hoops by Wibben before taking a
35-22 advantage into the intermission.
The Mustangs pushed their lead over the 20-point margin when
Hasley nailed a jump shot with 15:25 left in the contest to
make it 45-24. It became a 30-point game when Wibben scored
from inside with 7:04 left to put the Mustangs in front 65-35.
The Mustangs’ largest lead of the game was 31 points,
74-43, after a pair of Betsy Ingenthron free throws with 31.8
for complete game statistics.