Oskaloosa–The Statesmen women’s basketball team will look to bolster its national tournament resume with a strong showing this week as it opens Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament action Thursday night with a home game against Clarke.
WPU (21-7) enters as the #2 overall seed and will face the #7-seeded Pride (21-10) in the quarterfinal round in Penn Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Clarke which was the North Division’s #3 seed, got through the play-in round with a 70-66 victory over Missouri Valley (South’s #6 seed).
The teams battled twice during the regular season with William Penn victorious in both outings. The navy and gold won 78-46 in Dubuque on January 17 as Sarah Hansen (Sr., Kewanee, Ill., Psychology) scored 19 points, while Kate Ylitalo (So., Maple Plain, Minn., Biology) (18) and Vashti Nwagbaraocha (Jr., Milwaukee, Wis., Exercise Science) (16) also had big games. Exactly one month later on February 17, the Statesmen took down the Pride 62-52 with Ylitalo scoring a game-high 20 points; Nwagbaraocha added 18 and Jenna Santi (Jr., Oak Creek, Wis., Sports Management) had 13.
The Statesmen will be fighting for their first conference tournament crown in program history.
Thursday’s winner will then play the winner of #3 seed MidAmerica Nazarene vs. #6 seed Baker Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed. The Heart Championship Game is slated for next Tuesday at the site of the highest remaining seed.
Admission for the game is $8 for adults and $5 for college students and children 18 and under. No game passes will be allowed for conference tournament games, but NAIA passes will be accepted.
Story Provided by Wade Steinlage, WPU Sports Information Director