The Tigers took on Rochester College in the semifinal round of the USCAA National Basketball Championships this afternoon. This was the first time Iowa Wesleyan had made it past the first round of the tournament. In the two previous trips to the USCAA National Tournament, the team lost their first round game. Iowa Wesleyan used a big first quarter and balanced scoring throughout the game to defeat the Warriors of Rochester College 74-60 and advance to the championship game.
Rochester opened the first quarter with three straight three pointers, making it seem like the Tigers could be in for a long game. Iowa Wesleyan was able to keep it close by getting layups and jump shots on their first three possessions. Dakota Flesner (SR/Payson, IL) put the Tigers within three with a layup at the 7:24 mark in the first quarter. The Tiger defense picked up the intensity and held the Warriors scoreless for over five minutes of action. During that time, Iowa Wesleyan went on an 18-0 run to bring the score to 24-11. In that stretch, the Tigers sank four three pointer, two by Darby Massner (FR/Mediapolis, IA) and one by both Kaylee Moseley (SR/Taylor Ridge, IL) and Rachel Williams (SR/Phoenix, AZ). Iowa Wesleyan ended the first quarter with a 32-18 advantage over Rochester College.
Dakota Flesner opened the second quarter with a layup to extend the Tiger lead to sixteen points.The Iowa Wesleyan offense started to get a little careless with the ball and missed some shots after that first layup. The Tigers would not score again until the 3:15 mark when Rachel Williams finally made a layup. At that point, the score was 36-27 in favor of Iowa Wesleyan. Aimee Iverson (SR/Sherrard, IL) followed up with a layup with 1:47 left to play in the half, and Kaylee Moseley hit a big three pointer for the Tigers to extend the lead to twelve with 57 seconds to go. Rochester hit a jumper on the next possession to cut the lead to ten at the end of the half.
Iowa Wesleyan had a bit of a slow start to the third quarter, and the Warriors four unanswered points. Rachel Williams scored on a layup with 7:19 remaining in the third period. Rochester then hit two three pointers to bring them within two points of the Tigers. Both teams went scoreless for just over two minutes before Cairece Allen (JR/Moline, IL) broke the spell. Allen completed a three point play to bring the score to 46-41 with 4:11 to go in the period. Rochester once again cut the lead to two points with a three pointer on the next possession. With 1:27 to play in the third quarter, Iowa Wesleyan clung to a three point lead. Cairece Allen made a layup on the next offensive possession for the Tigers to extend the lead to five points. After a pair of free throws by the Warriors, Aimee Iverson sank a pair of free throws of her own to bring the score to 55-50. Rachel Williams closed out the third quarter with a layup to give the Tigers a seven point cushion at the break.
Darby Massner kicked off the fourth quarter with a three pointer to give Iowa Wesleyan a ten point lead. Kaylee Moseley sank a three pointer of her own at the nine minute mark to bring the score to 63-51. Rochester cut the deficit to ten points on their next offensive possession, but Iowa Wesleyan went back up by twelve with a pair of free throws by Breanna Hall (SR/Riverside, IA). With 3:19 left to go in the game, Dakota Flesner hit a layup which brought the score to 70-54. Darby Massner and Kaylee Moseley scored the final points of the game for the Tigers, with Moseley sinking two free throws with 34 seconds remaining. Rochester hit a free throw with just under thirty seconds on the clock for their final points of the game, and Iowa Wesleyan secured a 74-60 victory over the Warriors to advance to the next round of the tournament.
Dakota Flesner had her second double-double of the tournament to lead the Tigers with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Darby Massner was right behind her with 14 points after shooting 5-10 from the field, including 4-8 from the three point line. Rachel Williams and Kaylee Moseley each finished with 11 points in the win. Williams dished out 8 assists and Moseley was 3-5 from behind the arc.
Iowa Wesleyan will take on Concordia College Selma tomorrow for the championship game at 12:30 pm EST. This will be a rematch of the first round game two years ago when both teams faced each other. The number one seeded Tigers fell to the Hornets in the opening round, but went on to win their consolation game against Rochester College.
STORY COURTESY OF IOWA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION OFFICE