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Dordt wins NAIA National Championship

The Dordt University women’s basketball team defeated 14th-ranked Providence (Mont.) 57-53 to win its first ever NAIA National Championship this evening at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Karly Gustafson closed out her outstanding Defenders career with a team-high 16 points and Janie Schoonhoven netted 14 points, all but two coming in the second half, to go with 11 rebounds for her third consecutive double-double of the championship. Tournament most valuable player, Macy Sievers, added 10 points, eight rebounds and a game-high eight assists. Both Gustafson and Schoonhoven were also named to the all-tournament team.

The Defenders, who spent 11 weeks of the season ranked first in the NAIA Coaches’ poll, finished the season with a nine-game win streak and end with a program-best 35-2 record.

Dordt trailed by as much as 10 on two separate occasions early in the third quarter, the final at 35-25 at the 6:11 mark. A Gustafson basket in the lane sparked a 9-0 run to bring the Defenders to within one (35-34) following five straight points scored by Schoonhoven.

Providence scored the next five points, all by Eliannah Ramirez, to push the Argo’s lead back to six (40-34) with just over two minutes left in the period. The Defenders scored the final four points of the quarter, all on free throws by Sievers, as Dordt trailed by just two (40-38) and set up a dramatic last 10 minutes with the national title on the line.

A free throw by Gustafson followed by a basket from Schoonhoven gave the Defenders their first lead (41-40) since early in the second quarter. Four lead changes and one tie highlighted the next five-plus minutes Dordt trailed by one, 49-48, after a free throw by Schoonhoven with 3:23 left.

Following a defensive stop, the Defenders scored the go-ahead basket on a lay-up by Schoonhoven after a Faith Van Holland offensive rebound to go up 50-49 at the 2:29 mark. A Providence turnover led to another bucket by Schoonhoven and a three-point (52-49) lead with under two minutes remaining.

Leading by one (52-51), Bailey Beckman made four consecutive free throws and Dordt’s defense held Providence to without a field goal for the final 3-plus minutes to secure the title.

Ashlee Maldonado led all players with 18 points, right on her season average, and was the lone Providence player to scored in double figures. Keanna Salave’a pulled down 15 rebounds to go with nine points. The Argos end the season with a 27-9 record.

Playing in front of a partisan Defenders crowd, Dordt ran out to a 6-2 lead on baskets by Beckman, Sievers and Schoonhoven. A jumper by Eliana Kuperus gave the Defenders their largest lead (8-3) until Providence came back to tie the game at 12. Dordt scored the final basket of the quarter for a 14-12 advantage.

Providence took control in the second quarter, outscoring the Defenders 15-6 in the period, to take a 27-20 lead. Gustafson led the Defenders with eight points at the half and Kuperus scored six; no other Dordt player had more than two points after 20 minutes of play.

A Look at the Numbers:

Dordt was held to its second lowest point total of the season

the Defenders held Providence to 15 points below their season average and fourth lowest point total of the season

this was the 16th time Dordt allowed fewer than 60 points

Dordt shot 38% for the game and was held to just one three-pointer (1/7)

the Defenders converted 16-of-24 free throw attempts

Providence shot 36% for the game, 29% (6/21) from the arc

the Argos’ were a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line

Dordt had a slight advantage on the glass (37-36) and in turnovers (12-16)

Dordt Notes:

Gustafson scored in double figures for the 24th time this season, 96th for her career

Schoonhoven netted double figures in her ninth straight game and for the 26th time this season

this was Schoonhoven’s 11th double-double of the season

Sievers scored in double figures in her fifth straight game, 23rd time this season

Gustafson closes her career ranked first all-time in scoring (1,976pts) and rebounding (1,099)

Beckman closes her career ranked second in scoring (1,887pts) and first in three-pointers made (228)

Faith Van Holland (531pts) and Macey Nielson (505pts) played their final game in a Defender uniform as well

this was the second national title won by a Defender team (men’s cross country, 2022)

All-Tournament Team

First Team

Jamie Pickens, Carroll (Mont.)

Kassie Monday, Cumberlands (Ky.)

Karly Gustafson, Dordt (Iowa)

Macy Sievers, Dordt (Iowa)

Ashlee Maldonado, Providence (Mont.)

Second Team

Mallie McNair, Briar Cliff (Iowa)

Maddie Geritz, Carroll (Mont.)

Kaylie Monday, Cumberlands (Ky.)

Janie Schoonhoven, Dordt (Iowa)

Maddy Dixon, Providence (Mont.)

Tournament MVP: Macy Sievers, Dordt (Iowa)

Hustle Award: Janie Schoonhoven, Dordt (Iowa)

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