GREENE COUNTY — Steady defensive pressure and plenty of scoring capability proved to be too much for the underdog Wilberforce University women’s basketball team, March 6 in the opening round of the NAIA Division II Women’s National Championship at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.
Wilberforce was playing in the school’s first-ever National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national tournament, and wound up facing the 32-team tournament’s No. 1 overall seed, Concordia University (Neb.) in the opening round.
The Bulldogs Malika Wildon scored on a steal to tie Concordia at 2-all with 9:32 yet to play in the opening quarter, but then Concordia broke the game open with a 20-0 run. Concordia won the opening round contest, 100-62.
Mustafa Notter led Wilberforce (14-13) with 11 points and seven rebounds, Dameras Whitlock scored nine points while Nia McCormick and Ariel Skipper each finished with seven points. Other Wilberforce players who played in the school’s inaugural NAIA tournament game were Malika Wildon (two points), Alexandra Shealey (one), Jacie Dickerson (five), Allayah Hughes (five), Keanna Briscoe (two), Amaiah Jones, Lea Coulter (five), Alexis Shealey (six), Angelice Kinney (two) and Jasmine Flowers. Wilberforce is coached by Derek Williams.
Wilberforce University received an at-large bid to the tournament after placing third in the Association of Independent Institutions conference tournament, Feb. 24. That tournament was hosted by Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Ill.
Concordia, the NAIA’s No. 1-ranked team in the final regular season coaches poll, is now 31-3 this season. Forty one of their points came as the result of 34 Wilberforce turnovers. Four Concordia players scored in double figures, with two others scoring nine points. Philomena Lammers led Concordia with a game-high 16 points. Concordia will face Cardinal Stritch University (Wisc.), a 77-73 winner over Sterling College (Kansas), in the single-elimination tournament’s second round at noon on Friday, March 8 in the Tyson Events Center.
Story compiled from NAIA tournament statistics. NAIA.org