This magical run isn’t over yet.
Clarke will play for a national championship.
Taylor Haase scored a game-high 24 points off the bench, Nicole McDermott added a double-double, and Tina Ubl broke the program’s career scoring record in a 79-69 victory over Dakota State in the semifinals of the NAIA tournament on Friday at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Recommended for you
Clarke improved to 32-4 and set a program single-season record for victories. The Pride will face Thomas More (31-3) in the national championship game at 7 p.m. tonight.
The defending champion beat Heart of America Conference regular-season and tournament champion Central Methodist, 75-61, in the early semifinal.
McDermott finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the Pride, and briefly left the game with an apparent injury to her lower left leg.
Ubl finished with 10 points for the Pride. She scored at the 1:18 mark of the first quarter to move within one point of the program’s career scoring record, then broke it with a basket 80 seconds into the second quarter, bringing her career total to 1,977 points.
Giana Michels added 15 points and Emma Kelchen had eight points and 13 rebounds.
Neither team could get much going over the first couple minutes, and Savannah Walsdorf’s basket at the 7:58 mark gave Dakota State a 2-0 lead.
Skylar Culbertson hit a 3-pointer moments later to give Clarke its first lead, and Michels and McDermott scored on consecutive possessions to push the Pride in front, 7-4, with 6:42 left in the first quarter.
Haase scored on three straight trips down the court, including a three-point play on the third, to extend the lead to five.
But Morgan Huber kept Dakota State in the game. She hit consecutive 3-pointers late in the quarter to trim Clarke’s lead to one.
Dakota State retook the lead, 28-26, on Lilli Mackley’s basket at the 7:55 mark, part of a 10-0 run that pushed the Trojans out to a seven-point lead with 7:03 left in the half.
Elsie Aslesen made a pair of free throws at the 5:28 mark to give Dakota State its largest lead of the first half, but the Pride surged back ahead with the next 15 points and never trailed again.
Emma Kelchen sank a pair of free throws, Mya Merschman hit a 3-pointer and Nicole McDermott made a pair of free throws before making a game-tying basket with 3:06 left.
Merschman made two free throws to push Clarke back in front, 39-37, with 2:46 left. Michels added a basket on the next trip down the floor and McDermott capped the 15-0 run on the next possession.
Clarke led, 45-40, at halftime and pushed its lead to 13 on Haase’s basket with 7:02 left.
Dakota State got as close as four points with 8:25 left in the fourth quarter, but could never get closer.
Wow..this is awesome. Go Clarke!!
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.