Conference tournament play is underway in the Central Region of D2 Women’s Basketball. The top seeds in the NSIC are through while the MIAA and GAC are getting ready for their tournaments. Let’s open our Central Region notebook and check in on the post-season excitement…
TOP SEEDS SHINE IN NORTHERN SUN The top seeds remain standing in the BR-3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament entering Monday’s semifinals as the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
#1 North BR-27 Northern State (S.D.) escaped an upset bid by #4 South BR-42 Augustana (S.D.) as the Wolves beat the Vikings 71-64 in the first game of the NSIC quarterfinals. Northern State led through most of the first half before a 9-0 Augustana run gave the Vikings a 33-29 halftime lead. The Vikings extended the lead to 43-38 before the Wolves went on a 16-7 run early in the second half to retake the lead for good, 52-48. Rachel Krogman (26 points, 13 rebounds) and Sadie Stotesbury (14 points, 14 rebounds) each registered double-doubles to lead the Wolves, who shot 60 percent (15-for-25) from the field in the second half. Shaunteva Ashley led Augie with 27 points while Nicole Kerkhoff narrowly missed a double-double (12 rebounds, 9 points).
The Wolves will face #2 South BR-24 Minnesota State-Mankato, a 70-60 winner over #3 North BR-79 Minnesota-Crookston. Crookston closed out the first half with an 8-0 run to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room. The Mustangs opened the second half on a 12-4 run to take a 41-38 lead five minutes into the second half. With 11:22 left, Crookston got to within 45-44 before a 14-4 Mustangs run put the game out of reach. Aubrey Davis led all scorers with 20 points, while Lexie Ulfers added 19 for Mankato. Katrina Moenkedick recorded a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds) for Crookston, while Micaela Noga added 12. Mustangs shot 11-for-22 from the field in the second half as they held Crookston to 9-for-33 shooting.
Mankato and Northern State face off at 12:00 p.m. CST on Monday.
On the other side of the bracket, #1 South BR-9 Wayne State (Neb.) defeated #4 North BR-106 St. Cloud State 76-63. St. Cloud jumped out to a 7-2 lead to open the game before the Wildcats went on a 14-0 run to take the lead for good. The Huskies got to within three near the end of the first half, but a three-pointer at the buzzer by Sadie Murren (12 points) gave Wayne State a 38-32 halftime advantage. The Wildcats held a double-digit lead through most of the second half, although St. Cloud did get to within 64-58 with 2:42 left to play. Jordan Spencer led all scorers with 23 points to pace Wayne State, while Ashton Yossi and Millie Niggeling each added 12. Chelsea Nooker led St. Cloud with 16 points.
Wayne State will face #2 North BR-61 Minnesota State-Moorhead in the other semifinal. Moorhead unleashed an offensive barrage on #3 South BR-69 Winona State as the Dragons advanced with a 93-84 win. Heather Strese led the Dragons with 36 points, adding 13 rebounds for her sixth double-double of the season, while Meghan Roehrich added 23 points. Moorhead took an early 22-12 lead after an 18-7 run and never looked back. The Warriors did get to within 43-42 early in the second half, but an 8-0 Moorhead run put the game out of reach. The Dragons shot 31-for-60 (51.7 percent) from the field, including 10-of-15 from three-point range. Tara Roelofs led Winona State with 24 points.
The Wayne State-Moorhead game tips off at 5:30 p.m. CST on Monday.
MIAA PLAYOFF FIELD SET The BR-2 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association wrapped up their regular season on Saturday in preparation for next week’s conference tournament, which starts Tuesday at campus sites before shifting to Kansas City, Mo. on Friday. Both teams in each of the quarterfinal pairings split their respective season series, winning on their home courts.
#9 BR-116 Northeastern Oklahoma State travels to #8 BR-33 Washburn in one quarterfinal showdown. The two teams split the season series with each team winning on their home courts; Northeastern State won 58-54 on Jan. 24 and Washburn returned the favor with a 83-58 win on Feb. 14. The winner draws #1 BR-1 Fort Hays State in the quarterfinals.
#12 BR-154 Lindenwood (Mo.) travels to #5 BR-26 Central Missouri in another quarterfinal matchup. Lindenwood beat the Bearcats 92-85 in overtime on Jan. 24, while Central Missouri blew out the Lions 72-55 on Feb. 14. The winner of this game will face #4 BR-27 Missouri Southern in the quarterfinals.
On the other side of the bracket, #7 BR-44 Missouri Western hosts #10 BR-102 Lincoln (Mo.) in first round action. Lincoln and MoWest split the season series, with the Blue Tigers winning 76-72 on Jan. 29, and the Griffins beating Lincoln 77-49 on Feb. 18. The winner of this game gets #2 BR-4 Emporia State on Friday night in Kansas City.
The final quarterfinal matchup features #11 BR-101 Nebraska-Kearney at #6 BR-48 Central Oklahoma. The Lopers beat Central Oklahoma 65-62 in Kearney, Neb. on Jan. 17, while the Bronchos returned the favor on Saturday with a season-ending 79-58 win. The winner of this game will get #3 BR-3 Pittsburg State in the quarterfinals.
GAC FIELD SET The BR-15 Great American Conference playoff field is set as the GAC’s top eight teams converge on Bartlesville, Okla. for their annual conference tournament with quarterfinal action starting Thursday.
The action begins with #6 BR-187 Southwestern Oklahoma vs. #3 BR-142 Southeastern Oklahoma. Southwestern defeated Southeastern 77-71 on Saturday as the Lady Bulldogs avenged an 81-78 Savage Storm win on Jan. 3. The winner of this game will face either #7 BR-215 Henderson State or #2 BR-73 Arkansas Tech. The Golden Suns swept Henderson State in the season series, beating the Reddies 70-56 on Dec. 6 at Henderson State and 82-73 on Jan. 24 at Arkansas Tech.
The other side of the bracket features #8 BR-234 Southern Arkansas and #1 BR-47 Harding in one quarterfinal contest. The Lady Bison earned the top seed via a tiebreaker over Arkansas Tech and swept the season series with Southern Arkansas (74-53 on Dec. 4 and 72-61 on Jan. 31). The winner of this game will face the winner of the #5 BR-192 Arkansas-Monticello vs. #4 BR-159 East Central (Okla.) game. East Central captured the fourth seed with a season sweep of the Gin Blossoms; the Tigers won 69-65 on Nov. 20 and 51-49 on Feb. 7.