The Iowa Wesleyan women's basketball team took on Concordia-Alabama this afternoon for the championship game in the USCAA National Tournament. The outcome may not have been what the Tigers were hoping for, but they battled the entire game and never gave up. Iowa Wesleyan's late comeback came up short, and they fell 65-72 to the Hornets.
It took a little bit for Iowa Wesleyan to get going to start the game as Concordia jumped out to an early 6-0 lead. Rachel Williams (SR/Phoenix, AZ) found Dakota open in the lane for a layup to finally put the Tigers on the board and stop the run. Darby Massner (FR/Mediapolis, IA) cut the Hornet lead to three points with 3:26 remaining in the opening period after draining her first three pointer of the game. Breanna Hall (SR/Riverside, IA) hit a jumper, and Massner hit another three pointer to bring IW within one. Concordia was able to score four quick points to extend their lead to five, but once again Darby Massner answered with a three pointer. The Hornets ended the first quarter with a pair of free throws and led 17-13 at the break.
Kaylee Moseley (SR/Taylor Ridge, IL) sank a three pointer to kick off the second quarter and bring IW back within one point of the Hornets. After trading baskets a few more times, Darby Massner tied the game up at 21-21 with her fourth three pointer of the game at the 6:24 mark. Kaylee Moseley gave Iowa Wesleyan their first lead of the game after sinking a three pointer. Breanna Hall extended the Tiger lead to five points with a jumper with 4:55 remaining in the second quarter. Concordia went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead and bring the score to 29-26. Breanna Hall ended the run with a free throw at the 1:21 mark. Iowa Wesleyan trailed 34-28 after shooting just over 27 percent from the field as the teams headed into the locker rooms.
At the start of the third quarter, both teams failed to score for just shy of two minutes. Concordia broke the dry spell with a three pointer, but Breanna Hall had an answer with a three pointer for Iowa Wesleyan. Dakota Flesner (SR/Payson, IL) followed that with a layup to cut the deficit to four points. The Hornets then went on a 6-0 run, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout. Darby Massner sank a three pointer to stop the Hornet run and bring the score to 43-36 with 5:56 to go in the quarter. The Iowa Wesleyan offense struggled to get anything going and were held scoreless for three minutes before Massner drained another three with 2:55 left to play. At that point, Concordia held a 47-39 lead over the Tigers. Aimee Iverson (SR/Sherrard, IL) found Whitney Brandvold (JR/Bottineau, ND) in the lane for a layup and the final Tiger basket of the third quarter. At the end of the period, the Hornets held a 54-41 advantage.
Concordia scored the first points of the fourth quarter with a layup to extend their lead to fifteen points. Rachel Williams sank a pair of free throws after getting fouled on a put back. The Tigers failed to score for the next three minutes, and Concordia was able to score five more points during that time. Kaylee Moseley stopped the drought with a three pointer at the 6:09 mark. The three pointer started a 7-0 run for the Tigers where Aimee Iverson scored on a layup and Moseley sank a pair of free throws. With 3:38 remaining, Rachel Williams hit a three pointer for IW to cut the lead to ten points. Williams sank another three pointer with 2:17 remaining to bring the score to 67-60. Darby Massner followed with a layup to cut the lead to five points. Concordia was able to get a layup after an offensive rebound to extend the lead back to seven. The Tigers were forced to foul late,but Aimee Iverson hit a three pointer to bring the score to 65-70 with 12 seconds to go. The Hornets went on to win 72-65 to become the 2016 USCAA National Champions.
Darby Massner had a huge game for the Tigers. Massner finished with 21 points on 6-8 shooting from behind the arc, while also grabbing eight rebounds. Kaylee Moseley added 11 points and hit three three pointers for Iowa Wesleyan. Breanna Hall and Rachel Williams each ended the game with 10 points. Williams finished with a double-double, scoring 10 points and dishing out 11 assists.
Dakota Flesner and Kaylee Moseley were named to the All-Tournament team for their play throughout the National Tournament. Flesner averaged 11.6 points per game and 11.6 rebounds per game for the Tigers. In the first game against Carlow, Flesner grabbed 19 rebounds (15 offensive) and finished with 14 points. Kaylee Moseley averaged 12.3 points per game for the Tigers and shot 50 percent from the three point line in three games.
The Tigers season came to an end in the National Championship game, a first in women's basketball history. Iowa Wesleyan ended the season with an overall record of 20-8 and finished third in conference play with a record of 13-5.
STORY COURTESY OF IOWA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE