Jerry Hansen, Sports Information Director
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The matchup that didn’t happen on the national stage this past March in Billings, Mont., happened Thursday afternoon on the campus of Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. No. 13 Clarke University moved to 9-1 with a 74-65 non-conference win over Our Lady of the Lake University. The two squads were to have met in an opening-round game of the 2020 NAIA National Championships, but the event was cancelled after the first-round pairings were announced.
“We emphasized getting defensive stops and winning the game of runs, in order to put ourselves in a position to win at the end of the game,” said Clarke Head Coach Courtney Boyd. “This group executed the game plan and that made it fun. It was a great way to finish the 2020 part of our season. Christmas break always comes at the perfect time and we will celebrate this win, rejuvenate and get back to it after the holiday.”
An 9-0 Clarke scoring spurt late in the final quarter sealed the win for the Pride. Clarke, which overcame a six-point first quarter deficit and took a 43-31 lead at halftime, saw the Saints cut the lead to six with just six minutes remaining in the matchup. The Pride didn’t fold and used the 9-0 run to build their biggest lead, a 17-point advantage with 1:19 on the clock. A Nicole McDermott (FR/Cascade, Iowa) put-back capped off the scoring spurt. OLLU followed with an 8-0, but it came too late.
Makenna Haase (SR/Freedom, Wis.) led Clarke with a game-best 27 points and 12 rebounds. Tina Ubl (JR/Shiocton, Wis.) and Emma Kelchen (JR/Bellevue, Iowa) added 17 and 13 points, respectively. Morgan Pitz (SR/Farley, Iowa) pulled down 10 rebounds for the Pride, who controlled the boards decisively,55-32.
Angeline Sanchez led OLLU (0-1) with 15 points.
Clarke will open the 2021 portion of its schedule and return to Heart of America Athletic Conference play on Jan. 6 at Grand View University.