Marian (Ind.) wins first ever national championship

Marian (Ind.) wins first ever national championship

By Colbi Howser, Communications and Sports Information Intern

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – (Box ScoreBracket) For the first time in program history the Knights of Marian (Ind.) are taking home a national championship title after beating the last remaining No. 1 seeded team in Southern Oregon, 59-48 in the 2016 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Mercy Medical and Seaboard Triumph Foods.

It was a low scoring game for both teams who only shot a combined 39-of-112 from the field. It was from behind the arc where the Knights dominated, going 5-for-12 in the first half, three of those coming from Laken Hasser-Smith who couldn’t miss, only missing one on the night (4-5).

As a team, the Knights were 19-of-55 from the field, shooting 34 percent, created 13 turnovers and picked up seven steals. Sophomore Kellie Kirkhoff played like a 6-foot forward scoring most of her 16 points from inside the paint and scoring the final two points from the free-throw line to close the game.

“We made a promise that we would win our last game together and we did,” Head Coach Katie Gearlds said, “I couldn’t be prouder.”

During the fourth quarter, junior Laken Hasser-Smith scored her 2,000 career point making her the first Knight to surpass that plateau in program history. Hasser-Smith averaged 17 points per game with a career-high 27 points in two games against Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Nov. 5 and Huntington (Ind.) Jan. 30. She recorded double-digits in 112 games played in her career.

“I have to give all the credit to my teammates and coaches.” Hasser-Smith said about scoring her 2,000 point.

Tough defense from the Knights led to a low 22 points in the first half for Southern Oregon and only eight in the second quarter. The Raiders held Marian to just seven points in the third, but never could get a shot to fall, only connecting on 20-of-66 from the field for a tournament low.

For the Raiders, Carly Meister and Autumn Durand led the team with double-digits, Meister with 18 and Durand with 13. Southern Oregon ends its season 33-2 with a Cascade Collegiate tournament championship under its belt.

2016 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team
First Team:
Sophia Sears – Goshen (Ind.)
Ashley Claussen – Southern Oregon
Abbey Hengesbach – Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)
Alex Kneeland – Mount Marty (S.D.)
Laken Hasser-Smith – Marian (Ind.)

Second Team:
Erica Herrold – Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.)
Jessica Tietz – Morningside (Iowa)
Kellie Kirkhoff – Marian (Ind.)
Autumn Durand – Southern Oregon
Kylee Gorby – Asbury (Ky.)

Hustle Award of the Year
Tena Loewen - Tabor (Kan.)

Most Valuable Player
Laken Hasser-Smith – Marian (Ind.)

Coach of the Year
Katie Gearlds – Marian (Ind.)

Championship Information

NAIA DII Women's Basketball Championship

March 11-17, 2020
Tyson Events Center 
Sioux City, Iowa