No. 6 Davenport (Mich.) defeated No. 7 Northwestern (Iowa), 74-68, in the semifinals of the State Farm-NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championship. With the win Davenport will advance to its second national championship game in three years. The loss snaps Northwestern's 18 game-winning streak in the national championship.
Karli Harris led the Panthers with a game-high 26 points. Tiesha Stokes followed with 12 points. For the game, Davenport forced 28 Red Raiders turnovers. Alli Dunkelberger scored 18 for the Red Raiders, while Kendra De Jong followed with 12 points.
"It was a different fashion on getting turnovers today where in the past we used a full court pressure but today we got up the lines and were able to get our hands on the ball and get some tips," said Davenport's head coach Mike Williams.
The game was tied 32-32 at the hafl. The Panthers and Red Raiders continued to trade leads and keep the game close to start the second half. After seven minutes of action the Panthers held a 45-44 lead. With the Panthers ahead by one, Davenport went on a 12-4 run that saw their lead stretch to 11, 59-48 with 9:23 left in the game.
Northwestern would not go away as they started to battle back. The Red Raiders scored the next five points to bring Northwestern within five, 59-54.
The Panthers stretched its five point lead back to nine, 65-56, before the Red Raiders made another comeback run. During this stretch, the Red Raiders scored the next seven points, and trimmed the Panthers lead to two points, after Alli Dunkelberger's three-pointer.
That would be as close as Northwestern would get as the Panthers extend its lead again. The Panthers would go 7-for-8 from the charity strip in the last minute to security the 74-68 win to advance to the title game.
Davenport will take on the winner of Indiana Wesleyan in the finals of the Division II Women's National Championship game. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CST on Tuesday.
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