SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) No. 5 Cardinal Stritch used a suffocating defensive effort en route to a 74-48 win against No. 4 seed St. Ambrose (Iowa) in first round action of the 2013 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by State Farm, on Thursday. The victory propels the Wolves to the round of 16 for the third-straight year and fourth time in the last five seasons.
Cardinal Stritch, which was 4-5 over its final nine games of the regular season, limited a St. Ambrose team that entered the championship shooting 46.2 percent from the field to only 26.3 percent (15-of-57) shooting, including a dismal 1-for-20 from 3-point range. Additionally, the Wolves were dominant on the glass, outrebounding the Queen Bees, 53-35.
Cardinal Stritch had 12 players record at least two points in the contest, led by senior guard Julie Raeder’s 16 points. The other notable performance from the Wolves came from junior forward Michelle Piepenburg, who picked up her 11th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, including five offensive boards.
The two teams traded buckets for the opening 17 minutes of the contest before Cardinal Stritch rattled off eight-straight points to take a 33-25 lead into the half. Amy Jorgenson, who finished the game with 10 points, sparked the run with one of her two 3-pointers in the contest.
St. Ambrose managed to cut the deficit to no more than six, as Cardinal Stritch opened the second half with a 16-4 run en route to a then-game-high 20 point, 49-29, lead. The Wolves continued the pressure throughout the frame, extending its advantage to as much as 28 on a pair of Emily Rudkin free throws.
As a team, the Wolves shot 45.3 percent (29-of-64) from the field.
Cardinal Stritch will play No. 1 Jamestown (N.D.) at 5:15 p.m. CDT on Friday. The Wolves are hoping to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010.
On the other hand, St. Ambrose, which received an automatic berth after winning the Midwest Collegiate Conference tournament, ends the year with a 26-6 record. The Queen Bees were making their 10th all-time appearance and first since 2011.