Walsdorf and Aslesen Named to NAIA All-Tournament Team

With the conclusion of the NAIA Women’s Basketball Tournament this past weekend, two Dakota State players were selected to the NAIA Women’s Basketball All-Tournament teams after their impressive performances.

The 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament came to an end Saturday evening as Clarke defeated the two-time defending champion Thomas More by the score of 63-52 at Tyson Events Center.  After the conclusion of the championship game, the NAIA announced its All-Tournament Teams.

DSU, who made their third straight appearance to the NAIA national tournament for the first time since 2006-08, was placed in the Liston Quadrant as No. 6 seed. The Trojans defeated No. 11 seed Morningside 78-65 on March 7 and No. 3 seed Eastern Oregon 86-69 on March 8 in Wichita, Kansas.

Dakota State continued its postseason run in the Round of 16 at the Tyson Events Center, defeating No. 2 seed Carroll 82-72 on March 14 and held off No. 1 seed Indiana Wesleyan 71-70 on March 15 to advance to their first-ever national semifinals in program history. They defeated three consecutive NAIA’s nationally-ranked Top 25 teams).

The Trojans’ magical run came to an end in the national semifinals to Clarke by the score of 79-69 on March 17. DSU finished their season with a school record 29 victories (29-7 overall record), breaking the previous school record of 27 victories in each of the past two seasons.

Savannah Walsdorf, a 6-foot junior forward, was selected to the four-member NAIA All-Tournament First Team for Dakota State. 

She paced the team with 18.6 points (94 total points) and 7.6 rebounds (38 total rebounds) per game during the national tournament. In addition, she was 34-of-63 from the field (54 percent) and converted 21-of-24 free-throws.  

She averaged 3.2 steals and 2.6 assists per game in the national tournament.

Elsie Aselsen, 6-foot-1 senior forward/center, was chosen to the five-member NAIA All-Tournament Second Team. 

She averaged 14.0 points (70 total points), and 6.2 rebounds (31 total rebounds) per game. She was 24-of-45 from the field (53.5 percent) and hit 20-of-22 from the free-throw line in the national tournament play. She also accumulated 15 blocks, averaging 3.0 blocks per game in the national tournament.

Both Walsdorf and Aslesen were named to the NSAA’s Basketball All-Conference First Team last month. Aslesen was also chosen as the league’s defensive Player-of-the-Year.

Dakota State finished at No. 24 national ranking in the final NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 national poll. The Trojans had set a pair of winning streaks in the school record book, including the second longest in school history of 15 consecutive wins.

In addition, DSU was the first NSAA member to advance to the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament’s semifinal since the league was formed in 2013-14.

Below is the complete list of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team:


1st Team

  • Nicole McDermott, Clarke (Iowa)
  • Alex Smith, Thomas More (Ky.)
  • Savannah Waldorf, Dakota State (S.D.)
  • Leianaya Massenat, Central Methodist (Mo.)

2nd Team

  • Elsie Aslesen, Dakota State (S.D.)
  • Daryna Backkarova, Central Methodist (Mo.)
  • Jordan Sweeney, Montana Western
  • Zoie Barth, Thomas More (Ky.)
  • Giana Michels, Clarke (Iowa)

Hustle Award Nicole McDermott, Clarke (Iowa)
Tournament MVP Tina Uble, Clarke (Iowa)