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2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship Preview – Round of 16

Alisha Alexander | LC State Sports Information Director

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Warrior women clinched one of 16 spots at the final site of the 2023 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship and will take on No. 7 Clarke (Iowa) on Monday. No. 10 LC State defeated Simpson (Calif.) and (RV) Rocky Mountain (Mont.) in the first and second rounds to advance to the NAIA’s Round of 16.

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The Warriors and Clarke Pride will face each other for the first time on the NAIA’s biggest stage.

The NAIA will produce a live stream for each game of the tournament and live stats will be available. Brian Danner will call the games on KOZE. All links are available on lcwarriors.com.

NO. 10 LC STATE WARRIORS (30-3, 21-1)

The Warriors wrapped up the regular season as co-champions of the Cascade Collegiate Conference to earn an automatic bid into the national tournament for the program’s 25th appearance. LC was the runner-up in the conference tournament behind No. 12 Eastern Oregon. The Warriors are the lone CCC team standing in the NAIA tournament.

LC State defeated Simpson 73-55 in the first round of the national tournament before beating Rocky for the third time this season by a final of 67-50. Hannah Broyles had a huge tournament for the Warriors with 18 points against Simpson and 21 against RMC. She hit nine 3-pointers between the two games.

Broyles is one of three First-Team All-Cascade Conference selections for LC State. Forward Maddie Holm earned the honor for the second straight year after leading the team in rebounding (8.6), and Callie Stevens repeated as the CCC Player of the Year. The junior guard leads the Warriors in scoring this season with 14.3 points per game, just ahead of Broyles’ 13.4 points per contest. Broyles’ 98 3-pointers this season is the second-most in a single season in program history.

The trio have been a scoring threat all season and are key to the team’s success in other stat categories. Holm’s rebounding was a huge piece to the win over Rocky where she grabbed 12 boards. Stevens leads the conference in steals with 117, and Broyles is second on the team in steals with 60.

All-Cascade Conference Honorable Mention selection Ellie Sander stepped into her starting role this season and made an immediate impact. The sophomore leads the CCC in steals this season with 75 and leads the team in field goal percentage at .488. Senior post Sara Muehlhausen anchors the defense with 68 blocks, second-most in a single season in program history, while averaging 7.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game while shooting .480 from the field.

The depth on the bench has been another key factor to LC’s success this season. Sitara Byrd, the CCC Freshman of the Year, leads the bench in minutes per game with 16.8 and has averaged 5.3 rebounds and points per game. Senior Adyson Clabby is one of the best ball handlers in the nation with a 3.9 assist/turnover ratio.

The Warriors rank second in the NAIA in field goal percentage defense (.330) and 10th in blocks per game (4.2).

NO. 7 CLARKE PRIDE (29-4, 19-3)

The Clarke Pride earned an automatic bid into the national tournament as the regular-season runner-up in the Heart of America Athletic Conference and are making their seventh appearance in the tournament.

Clarke opened the season with six straight wins until clashing with No. 1 Central Methodist (Mo.) in the second game on conference play. After losing to MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) in December, the Pride won 14 straight games. CMU snapped the run once again. Of Clarke’s four losses, three are to Central Methodist.

After falling to CMU in the Heart title game, Clarke hosted an NAIA First and Second Rounds pod where the team defeated Indiana Northwest 67-61 and (RV) Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) 63-58. Tina Ubl scored 13 points in the game while Taylor Hasse tallied 19 off the bench.

The Pride had the most Heart of America All-Conference selections with seven. Nicole McDermott and Ubl were voted to the first team, Emma Kelchen and Skylar Culbertson were tabbed second team, and Haase, Giana Michels and Mya Merschman earned honorable mention honors.

Ubl leads the team in scoring with 12.9 points per game and McDermott leads at the boards with 7.3 rebounds per game. Culbertson is the key play maker with 4.9 assists pet contests.

Kelchen is second on the team in scoring with 11.7 points a night, McDermott is averaging 10.6 and Haase scores 10 points a contest. The Pride has three players shooting over 45 percent from the floor in Kelchen (.495), Hasse (.479) and Ubl (.477).

THE DETAILS

Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on Monday in Sioux City at the Tyson Events Center.

Stay up to date with all things Warrior Athletics at lcwarriors.com and on social media @LCWarriors.

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