Dakota Wesleyan wins their program's first National Championship
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – (Box Score) The Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) Tigers are the 2018 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Champions after defeating the Concordia (Neb.) Bulldogs by a score of 82-59. This is the Tigers first National Championship title in program history. Kynedi Cheeseman led the game with 26 points and was also named Tournament MVP.
How They Got Here:
Concordia Dakota Wesleyan
Defeated Stillman (Ala.) 75-52 Defeated IU-East (Ind) 78-62
Defeated Taylor (Ind.) 71-50 Defeated Southern Oregon 76-61
Defeated Jamestown (N.D.) 79-61 Defeated Southeastern (Fla.) 78-64
Defeated Northwestern (Iowa) 84-77 Defeated Saint Xavier (Ill.) 81-66
In the fourth version of this game, 3’s were aplenty out of the gate. With the Tigers going 3-4 at the first media timeout, and the Bulldogs going 2-3, it was a hot start to the game. With under four remaining, the Tigers had a three-point advantage over the Bulldogs, with the score to 10-13. And with under a minute remaining, the Tigers jumped out to a 21-14 lead, thanks to a couple more 3’s. That lead would hold going into the second. Ashley Bray led the scoring to this point with six. Both teams shot above average in the first. Dakota Wesleyan shot 53 percent overall, going 5-7 from deep. Concordia shot 41 percent, as well as knocked down both free-throw attempts.
Just a minute and a half into the quarter, that lead grew to nine before Concordia called a timeout with 8:21 left in the second. It continued to be all Tigers in the second, growing the lead until the score was 33-19 with under five minutes remaining. Holding Concordia to just five second quarter points gave the Tigers a 40-19 lead heading to the locker rooms. It was all Dakota Wesleyan in the first half. They outshot the Bulldogs from the floor and from the three-point line. The outrebounded them 25-10 and had 12 assists compared to Concordia’s three.
The third quarter followed the path of the rest of the game. The Tigers made 5-10 form beyond the arc and built their halftime lead of 21 turned to 26 by the end of the quarter. Cheeseman led the game with 19 points through three quarters.
The fourth quarter was a victory lap for the Tigers. With under a minute left, the Tigers led by 27 and would finished the game leading by 23 with a final score of 82-59. The Dakota Wesleyan Tigers had won their first-ever National Championship!
- The 2018 National Championship is the first for Dakota Wesleyan in program history
- It was both teams second appearance ever in the National Championship
- There were three 20-point scorers in the Championship game. Kynedi Cheeseman (26), Philly Lammers (23), and Ashley Bray (21)
- Riley Osthus led the game in assists (9)
- Sarah Carr (7) and Chesney Nigel (7) tied for the most rebounds in the game
- The Tigers made 15 three-pointers, falling two short of the single game championship record of 17 set in 2014 by Morningside (Iowa)
- 23 points is the largest margin of victory in the National Championship since 2001 when Northwestern (Iowa) defeated Albertson (Idaho)
- Dakota Wesleyan becomes the 13th school to raise the Red Banner
- Sophomore Kynedi Cheeseman becomes the first player from Dakota Wesleyan to win the Tournament MVP award
- Four of the five 1st team tournament players were from Dakota Wesleyan or Concordia. From Dakota Wesleyan- Kynedi Cheeseman, Riley Osthus, and Ashley Bray. From Concordia- Philly Lammers
Quote from Coach Jason Christensen:
"It's been an awesome week. We have some amazing kids and some amazing fans. We could not have done it without them. We have a great thing going here at Dakota Wesleyan. From the girls, to the fans, to the administration, to the community, its a really special thing we have."
Quote from Tournament MVP Kynedi Cheeseman:
"We got beat by them three times during the season, and we were not going to lose a fourth. That was all the motivation we needed. No one expected us to come here and do as well as we did so for this group to win it all is amazing. I couldn't imagine doing this with any other group of girls."
2018 NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship All-Tournament Team
1st Team All-Tournament
Kynedi Cheeseman, Dakota Wesleyan
Philly Lammers, Concordia
Kara Krolicki, Saint Xavier
Rie Osthus, Dakota Wesleyan
Ashley Bray, Dakota Wesleyan
2nd Team All-Tournament
Brittany Collins, Saint Xavier
Kamari Johnson, St. Francis (Ill.)
Renee Maneman, Northwestern
Quinn Wragge, Concordia
Ana Richter, Southeastern
Hustle Award of the Year
Remi Mejia, Southern Oregon
Most Valuable Player
Kynedi Cheeseman, Dakota Wesleyan
Coach of the Year
Jason Christensen, Dakota Wesleyan