REPEATING to correct slug line
MONMOUTH, Ore. (AP) _ Barb Schmidt’s torrid shooting helped lead Northern State of South Dakota to the NAIA Division II women’s college basketball championship Tuesday night, but she gave her praise to a teammate who played hurt.
Schmidt scored 20 points, including five 3-point baskets, to lead No. 5- ranked Northern State (30-4) to a 72-56 victory over No. 4 Tarleton State of Texas (30-8) in the championship game. It was the school’s first national title in any sport.
Schmidt had admiration for Julie Jensen who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, despite a painful, sprained ankle.
″Julie Jensen might be a freshman but she doesn’t play like a freshman,″ Schmidt said. ″Julie was on crutches all day but she wasn’t about to miss this one.″
Jensen scored seven of the points in a nine-point Northern State run after Tarleton State closed to 50-42 with 11:29 remaining.
Schmidt, a junior, scored 17 of her points in the first half. She shot six- for-eight from the field in the game.
’We needed someone to get us going early, and Barb did a great job of it,″ Northern State coach Curt Fredrickson said.
″This is my biggest thrill in sports by far.″
All of Fredrickson’s delight wasn’t because of the title. He said he has only one senior on his roster, center Denise Ruhland, and six of the 12 players he brought to the tournament are freshmen.
Northern State built a 38-25 halftime lead on 50 percent first-half shooting. The victorious Wolves went on to shoot 47 percent from the field for the game and 55 percent from 3-point range.
The Wolves, who also got 12 points each from Ruhland and Michele Lick, led by as many as 20 points in the late going as reserves finished up.
Tarleton State shot only 41 percent from the field in the first half and 38 percent for the game. The TexAnns were outrebounded 43-26.
Kristin Curtis led Tarleton State with 14 points.
Schmidt earned the tournament most valuable player award.