SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 3 Mayville State (N.D.) picked up its first-ever national championship victory with a 86-82 win over No. 6 Cornerstone (Mich.) in first round action of the 2014 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm. The Comets are making their second all-time appearance at the event and are scheduled to play No. 7 College of the Ozarks (Mo.) in second round action at 12 p.m. CDT on Friday.
With the win, Mayville State advances to its first-ever national championship second round and is the fourth team at the 2014 event to punch a ticket into the round of 16. The Comets received an automatic berth after winning the inaugural North Star Athletic Association Tournament title.
Senior center Marcisa McMillan of Mayville State highlighted the top performers in the contest. The 6-foot-2 Seattle, Wash., native recorded her 14th double-double with a game-high 26 points and 17 rebounds. She was 12-for 18 from the field and added four blocked shots in the effort. McMillan has scored at least 20 points in four of her last five games and has tallied double-digit rebounds in four-straight.
Joining McMillan in double figures for the Comets was junior Sabrina Rude (21), sophomore Liza Hoglo (14) and senior Hailey Longtin (12). Rude, who entered the game ranked among the top five nationally in 3-point field goals made per game, connected on six 3-pointers en route to her ninth game of the season with at last five made 3-point baskets.
As a team, Mayville State shot 41.3 percent (31-for-75) from the field, including a 55.9 percent (19-for-34) success rate in the second half.
Cornerstone seized control of the game early with a 24-4 run over the course of the opening seven minutes, capped by a 3-pointer by Taylor Dean. Mayville State, despite shooting only 29.3 percent (12-for-41) in the first half, was able to pull within 10, 41-31, with 2:49 remaining. Neither team scored the remainder of the period.
Mayville State emerged from halftime as the aggressor and eventually tied the score 48-48 at the 14:18 mark of the second half. The Comets outscored the Golden Eagles, 15-7, during that run. Mayville State took the lead for good a little over a minute later when Rude connected on one of her game-high six 3-pointers to make it 54-52 in favor of the Comets. Cornerstone cut the deficit to as close as three points, however Mayville State held off the attack with timely free throw shooting.
Cornerstone, which was making its first appearance at the national championship since 2011 and ninth overall, had five individuals in double figures, led by sophomore forward Jill Steenwyk’s 17 points off the bench.
The Golden Eagles end their season with a 22-10 record.