Tigers Knock Off Defending National Champs, 78-72

Dubuque, Iowa – Dakota Wesleyan gets the big upset over the Clarke Pride in the second round of the 2024 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championships! Emma Yost led all scorers as she tied her career-high with 28 points and grabbed five rebounds. Rylee Rosenquist added a double-double with 20 points and ten rebounds. The Tigers trailed by one after the first quarter but took the lead and never looked back, with their largest lead being 15 points at the beginning of the fourth. Clarke tried to mount a comeback, but the Tigers were able to hold off the Pride and win 78-72. The Tigers made 29 of their 32 free throw attempts with the starting five combining for 26 made free throws. Yost shot 100% beyond the arc as she swished all three of her attempts, all in the first half.

Highlighted Player – Emma Yost 28 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

Stat Leaders:

Points – Emma Yost (28)

Assists – Morgan Edelman (5)

Rebounds – Rylee Rosenquist (10)

Blocks – Shalayne Nagel (2)

Recap – The Tigers got on the board first with a Rylee Rosenquist jumper from the right elbow. Emma Yost showed off her range early as she scored the next five points for the Tigers with a triple and a deep two. The first quarter, similar to last night’s contest against Rust College, saw seven lead changes and ties as both teams look to settle in. DWU had their largest lead of three points after a pair of free throws from Lacey Sprakel off the bench. Clarke would go on a 6-0 run to take the lead in the closing minute of the first quarter but Rosenquist attacked the rim and scored her fourth point to make it 16-15 Clarke lead at the end of the first.

Emma Yost tied up the score to start the second quarter with a free throw and DWU wouldn’t look back for the rest of the quarter. The Tigers would take the lead back from the Pride with Morgan Edelman‘s first two points of the night. Edelman may not have been scoring but her defense and passing ability had given the Tigers what they needed to stay in front. In the first half, Morgan dished out four assists and was locked down on Clarke’s point guards. Taliyah Hayes had entered the contest after Rosenquist picked up her second foul. With the ball at the top of the arc, Hayes would drive down the right side of the lane and score her first bucket of the game through contact. Yost would score 11 of the 17 points for the Tigers with a pair of triples and a few contested layups. DWU went into the halftime break with a 32-25 lead.

The Tigers extended their lead in the start of the third with a Shalayne Nagel basket after Rosenquist swatted a Clarke shot attempt. Dakota Wesleyan had a balance attack in the third moving the ball around in their offense finding the opening. Six different Tigers scored in the third quarter with four of them scoring four points. Rosenquist stayed perfect from the charity stripe and Edelman scored her third bucket on a cut to the rim to give the Tigers their largest lead of the game, 53-42 with 33 seconds remaining on the clock.

In the fourth and final quarter, the Clarke Pride tried to make an attempt to comeback and but clutch shots down the stretch DWU prevented any kind of comeback. With 7:32 on the clock, Rosenquist hit a three pointer to make it a 13-point game. Clarke finally cut the lead to single digits at the 5:56 mark on the clock as they started sprinting up and down the floor for quick scores. With a seven-point lead and just a little bit over two minutes remaining, Nagel would commit her fifth foul and Clarke took advantage by cutting the Tigers lead to 68-65. Edelman and Rosenquist would score the last eight points for DWU with six free throws and one layup to ice the game and defeat the defending national champs. The Tigers shot one percent better than the Pride and forced more turnovers to come out on top on the second-round matchup.

Up Next for the Tigers –

Dakota Wesleyan will travel to Sioux City, Iowa for their Round of 16 game against the number three seed Cumberlands. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on Friday March 22nd.