BR-28 Northern State took on all comers in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament, cruising to four straight wins to lay claim to the 2015 NSIC title this week and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Regional Tournament.
The team’s stock plummeted, though, after suffering bad losses to BR-93 St. Could State (twice, 62-54 and 61-59) and BR-259 Southwest Minn. St. 53-52. The team also fell to BR-25 Augustana (SD) twice, losing 59-57 and 76-64, and to BR-10 Wayne St. (NE) 58-57. But when it mattered most, Northern St. rose to the occasion and proved themselves to be one of the top teams in the country.
When the Wolves are rolling, it’s hard to stop their momentum.
In the opening round of the tourney, Northern St. ousted Southwest Minn. St. 77-42 to deliver a bit of sweet revenge after their loss earlier in the season. Next up on the revenge tour was Augustana, and the Wolves’ third meeting with the Vikings ended with a 76-64 victory. In the semifinals, Northern St. edged out Minn. St. Mankato 58-52 to earn a shot against top seed Wayne St.
In the title game, it was all Northern State as the squad rolled to a 61-45 victory behind Megan Mutchler’s 18 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and seven steals. Rachel Krogman scored 16 points and Sadie Stotesbery added 14 and the two pulled down seven boards apiece in the winning effort. Each of these three seniors were named to the NSIC All-Tournament Team, but it was Mutchler’s effort that earned her the MVP award for the tourney.
The win delivered long-time head coach Curt Fredrickson career win number 773, which is possibly the sweetest victory he has tasted as it is the first time Northern State has captured the conference title.
The Wolves await seeding in the NCAA Tournament which will be announced this Sunday at 10:00 PM (ET). The team will enter the dance with a 26-6 record.