Championship Bound: UMD women’s basketball wins historic first Final Four semifinal

The No. 2 University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) women’s basketball team won a historic program first NCAA Division II Final Four semifinal Wednesday holding off No. 6 Catawba College 70-59 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

After allowing a five point Catawba run to start the Bulldogs took the reigns to lead at halftime 38-33. Despite getting in foul trouble UMD’s Brooke Olson led all scorers posting 15 first half points.

The Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the game at the end of the third quarter going up 48-39. Catawba brought the pressure in the fourth, but UMD held strong securing the 70-59 victory.

“Honestly I think that might be the first time where I’ve walked down the line before the clock ran out and high fived all the players. It’s an amazing accomplishment,” head coach Mandy Pearson said.

Olson led the game with 34 points, while Maesyn Thiesen, scoring eight points, played all 40 minutes. For the box score, Click Here.

“I thought our defense was really, really great,” Olson said. “In the third quarter I think they didn’t make a field goal they only had free throws so I thought we kind of took them out of the flow of their game. They’re a really high scoring team so we knew that we had to get stops. They had a really high scorer too, number 33, so we held her to 10 which was really really great.”

The graduate forward added, “I thought we slowed down on offense, moved the ball and then just found really great opportunities.”

UMD advances to their program’s first-ever NCAA DII Women’s Basketball Championship Saturday, April 1 in Dallas, Texas at the American Airlines Center.

Now 32-3 they’ll battle No. 1 undefeated Ashland University (36-0) who beat No. 5 Glenville State University 76-67 in their semifinal. For the full bracket, Click Here.