Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
Iowa Wesleyan women knocked out of NAIA tournament
Tigers can’t tame 2nd-seeded Dordt in opening round
SIOUX CENTER — For the second-straight year, the Iowa Wesleyan women’s basketball team gave a No. 2 seed a battle in the NAIA tournament, but for the second-straight year, the Tigers were unable to advance to the second round.
Iowa Wesleyan couldn’t knock off fourth-ranked Dordt University on Tuesday night, falling 76-63 in the opening round.
Iowa Wesleyan got off to an early lead when Isabell West started things off with a layup in the first 40 seconds of the game. The Tigers’ next lead would come on a Maci Kuchta 3-pointer that brought the score to 5-3 with 8:03 remaining in the period.
Dordt battle back to take as much as a six-point lead in the final two minutes. Kuchta nailed a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to cut the lead back to three, but after a pair of missed free throws by the Tigers, Dordt’s Macy Sievers floated a basket in at the first quarter buzzer, and it was 18-13 Defenders after one.
Dordt would stretch the lead to 31-24 at the half, and the Defenders held a 54-44 lead after three quarters, putting Iowa Wesleyan’s backs against the wall with just 10 minutes to go.
The fourth quarter turned disastrous for the Tigers. Dordt went on a 10-0 run to start the quarter, and that all but put Iowa Wesleyan away. The Defenders were up as much as 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Yet another 3-pointer by Kuchta cut the Dordt lead to 13 points, at 76-63, in the final seconds, but it was too little too late for Iowa Wesleyan, which ends its season at 23-7.
West ended the night with a team-leading 20 points and 11 rebounds. Kyla Moore finished with 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Kuchta had 14 points to give the Tigers three double-digit scorers.
Breanna Wendland had five points on the night. Brielle Baker and Megan Teal scored three each. Faith Watkins scored two.
Along with the 23-7 regular season record, Iowa Wesleyan went 11-0 in Continental Athletic Conference play this year, finishing league play undefeated for the second year in a row. When the new year kicks off next Winter, Iowa Wesleyan will be a part of the American Midwest Conference.