Trojans Luck Runs Out in the NAIA Semifinals

In the NAIA Women’s Semifinals last night, the Dakota State Trojans saw their record-breaking season come to an end after suffering a 79-69 loss to the Clarke Pride.

Clarke proved to be a tough opponent early, especially Taylor Haase who had 13 points in the first quarter. Despite that, the Trojans only trailed by one after the first as they were down 22-21 after Angela Slattery hit a buzzer-beating three to end the quarter.

DSU started to gain momentum in the second quarter as they led by nine midway through the quarter. However, Clarke outscored DSU 17-3 in the final five minutes of the quarter as the Pride took a 45-40 lead into halftime.

Clarke continued their strong offense coming out of the break, as they opened the third quarter on an eight point scoring run, and led by as much as 13 points in the quarter. 

The Trojans started to make the comeback towards the end of the quarter, cutting the Pride’s lead to six heading into the final quarter with a score of 63-57.

Despite multiple attempts from the Trojans to make the comeback in the final quarter, the Pride continued to halt any sort of momentum DSU gained. This allowed Clarke to close out the game and get the 79-69 victory, ending the Trojan’s season.

Elsie Aslesen ended the game with a team-high 14 points, four rebounds, and 2 blocks. She ends her career at DSU third all-time in blocks with 211 career blocks with the Trojans.

Courtney Menning had ten points, one rebound, and five steals as she finishes her career 4th all-time in school history with 271 career steals.

Savannah Walsdorf added 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Lilli Mackley and Caitlin Dyer each finished with nine points. Mackely added five rebounds, while Dyer had two steals. 

Leading the game in scoring was Haase, who finished with 24 points for Clarke. She also grabbed seven rebounds. 

The Trojans were outrebounded by the Pride 51-28. DSU also struggled shooting, going 23-64 from the field and 10-36 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Clarke shot 29-63 from the field and 3-10 deep.

The loss ends the Trojans season in their first ever appearance in the NAIA Semifinals, after coming into the tournament as the sixth seed in the Liston Quadrant and upsetting three straight teams. They end the year with a school record 29 wins.