SIOUX CITY | Each of Northwestern’s three marquee performers posted double-doubles in a 73-57 Great Plains Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory over Briar Cliff Saturday at the Newman Flanagan Center.
Anna Kiel finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Kassidy De Jong 15 points and 10 rebounds and Renee Maneman 10 points and 13 assists for the Red Raiders. Northwestern (15-5, 10-2) went on a 17-0 run to secure its seventh consecutive win and remain in second place in the GPAC standings.
The game was tied 47-47 before the Red Raiders scored the final six points of the third quarter and the first 11 of the fourth. Briar Cliff (8-14, 5-7) had a late 8-0 run of its own to come within 10, but tumbled to its third straight loss to a nationally ranked NAIA Division II team.
“It was a hard-contested game, I knew they would play hard and wouldn’t go away easy,” Northwestern Coach Chris Yaw said. “We knew intensity was going to be a big key for us from the first to the last possession. I thought we sustained that intensity pretty good.”
Northwestern limited the Chargers to 37-percent shooting and scored 25 points off turnovers. But until the 17-0 spurt, Briar Cliff played on even terms with a squad that trails only top-ranked Concordia in the league standings.
“I think it was just consistency, we finally were relaxing and connecting more,” said De Jong of the decisive run. “We were kind of uptight and jittery since it was our first game in a week. We just finally relaxed and played with each other, we were celebrating. Kudos to the crowd, it was a great crowd.”
Senior point guard Maneman – the nation’s assist leader with 167 – had a big play late in the third quarter. De Jong nailed a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to snap the 47-47 deadlock and Haley Birks followed with a free throw with 6.6 seconds remaining.
Maneman then alertly stole the ensuing inbounds pass and made a layup with four seconds left. She was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw, and Northwestern settled for a 53-47 lead after three quarters.
Another Maneman bucket started the fourth quarter and when DeJong made a bucket with five minutes left, it was 64-47. To their credit, the Chargers didn’t throw in the towel.
“I really liked the way we battled,” Briar Cliff Coach Mike Power said. “Some bad things happened for us and I thought our kids showed a lot of heart. It would be easy, especially this time of the season when things haven’t been going our way a lot of the time, that we could have just rolled over and quit but our kids battled and battled and put in a great effort.
“We play against good teams night in and night out in this league and it’s frustrating you’re not getting over the hump. We are getting better. We got blown out by teams early and the second time around we’re playing teams a lot better. Good things will happen for our kids eventually.”
Freshman Logan Ehlers paced Briar Cliff with 13 points, while Taylor Wagner added 12 points and Faith Troshynski 11.
Northwestern made 19 of 27 free throws and outrebounded the Chargers 34-25. Birks, Paige Danner and Sammy Blum chipped in nine points apiece.