Shocker Women Advance to MVC Tourney Final

By: WSU Athletics Email
By: WSU Athletics Email

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Alex Harden scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting to will Wichita State past Northern Iowa 75-71 in semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday at The Family Arena.

Jessica Diamond added 15 points for the Shockers and went 2-for-4 from behind the arc. Michaela Dapprich scored nine points in the winning effort.

Harden scored the first four points of the extra period for Wichita State and Diamond isolated herself on the left wing and hit a 3-pointer at the 3:07 mark to put the Shockers up by five, 72-67. Northern Iowa got the lead down to as little as three, but Harden iced the game on a free throw with nine seconds on the clock.

The Shockers will play in their first MVC title game since 1997 on Sunday against either #2 Creighton or #3 Illinois State at 2:05 p.m. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest or heard on KFH (1240 AM/98.7 FM).WSU advances to the finals of the MVC Tournament for just the second time in school history. The Shockers have yet to win it and will be searching for the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Jacqui Kalin led the way for Northern Iowa with 26 points and six assists. Amber Kirschbaum added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Harden got the Shockers going early on the offensive end, with a driving layup and a pair of free throws. Northern Iowa then scored the next five points of the game to take a 5-4 lead into the first media timeout.

After the Panthers took a 9-6 lead on a pair of free throws from Kirschbaum, Wichita State had another four-point spurt to take a 10-9 lead.

With 9:21 remaining in the half, back-to-back 3-pointers by Kalin and Hannah Schonhardt put Northern Iowa up, 15-10, but Harden ended the 6-0 run from the Panthers with another layup.

Northern Iowa continued to shoot well from the field and a jumper by Jess McDowell put the Panthers up 10 with 3:12 remaining in the half. Less than a minute later, McDowell gave her team the biggest lead of the half with a shot behind the arc to put Northern Iowa up, 30-19.

Neither team scored over the final 1:50 and the Panthers took a 32-21 lead into halftime. Harden kept Wichita State within striking distance with nine points on 3-of-3 shooting. She was 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Northern Iowa shot 11-for-23 (.478) from the field and were led by Kirschbaum who had 10 points in the half.

The Shockers came out looking much better on offense, opening the second half with a 9-1 run that was fueled by five consecutive points from Jasmine Jones. Chynna Turner capped the run with a pair of free throws to put Wichita State down three, 33-30 with 17:16 remaining in the game.

Diamond gave Wichita State their first lead since the opening moments of the game on an old-fashioned 3-point play. Then Michelle Price connected on her first basket of game to cap a 9-0 run and stretch the Shocker lead to 39-36 at the 14:15 mark.

Wichita State turned up the pressure on defense as well, forcing turnovers on two straight possessions and went up six, 46-40, on another Price layup with 9:46 remaining in the game.

The Panthers would continue to fight, going on a run of their own by scoring seven straight points to go up 52-49. Diamond answered at the 4:55 mark for the Shockers with a 3-pointer to tie it at 52, and one minute later a long three from Dapprich put Wichita State up, 55-54.

A 2-point jumper from and two free throws on the next possession put Northern Iowa back ahead, 60-57 with 2:03 remaining. The Shockers then answered with an 8-2 run that was capped by two Harden free throws put Wichita State up 65-62 with 12 seconds left.

Kalin then raced down the court for the Panthers and nailed a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 65 and push the game into overtime.

Harden scored the first four points of the extra period for Wichita State and Diamond isolated herself on the left wing and hit a 3-pointer at the 3:07 mark to put the Shockers up by five, 72-67. Northern Iowa got the lead down to as little as three, but Harden iced the game on a free throw with nine seconds on the clock.

The Shockers will play in their first MVC title game since 1997 on Sunday against either Creighton or Illinois State at 2:05 p.m. The game can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest or heard on KFH (1240 AM/98.7 FM).


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