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DWU women look to advance to NAIA quarterfinals against Cumberlands

Mar. 21—MITCHELL — Four months of hard work have led Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball to being one of only 16 teams left vying for a national championship.

As the Tigers' quest to return to the NAIA championship game continues in Sioux City, Iowa, they'll first have to face the University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) in the round of 16.

Here's a look at the Tigers' next matchup:

When: 1 p.m. Friday, March 22

Where: Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa

Records: DWU 22-10, Cumberlands 24-9

Coaches: DWU's Jason Christensen (295-158, 14th season), Cumberlands' Rick Reeves (115-65, sixth season)

All-time series: First recorded meeting between the teams.

Last time out: DWU knocked out the defending national champions and No. 5-ranked Clarke (Iowa) in the round of 32 on March 16, winning 78-72. Cumberlands cruised to a 86-65 victory over Bryan (Tenn.).

Notes: In the final NAIA Coaches Poll on Feb. 28, Cumberlands was the No. 15-ranked team for the second consecutive poll. DWU has received votes in the last four polls of the season. ... From 1992 until 2020, Cumberlands was an NAIA Division I basketball team, while DWU competed in Division II.

About DWU: The Tigers are one of only three teams seeded seventh or lower to reach the round of 16. They're also one of five GPAC teams remaining in the tournament. ... DWU's defense has held opponents under their season scoring average in three of the team's last four games. The Tigers have allowed 65.6 points per game on the year. ... Rylee Rosenquist has stepped up in recent action, averaging 18.9 ppg over her last seven games (four starts). ... Emma Yost has scored double-digit points in 27 of her 31 games for the Tigers this season, including 28 against Clarke, tying a career high. ... DWU has gone a combined 62-of-70 from the foul line in the tournament. The team's 77.5% free-throw shooting ranks eighth in the NAIA.

About Cumberlands: The Patriots boast the 11th-most prolific offense in the country, averaging 81.4 ppg. ... Despite averaging only 39.2 rebounds per game, Cumberlands' rebounding margin of plus-9.9 is the eighth-best in the NAIA. ... Out of the remaining 16 teams, Cumberlands is one of seven to have four double-digit scorers on its roster. ... Kaylie Monday leads the Patriots in scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 per game), and Kassie Monday is the team leader in assists (6.1 per game). ... Cumberlands have shot 37% from behind the arc on the season, seventh-best in the country. Jaiden Cox has shot 48.7% from long range to lead the team (min. 30 attempts).

Next: The winner of Friday's game will face either Campbellsville (Ky.) or Menlo (Calif.) in the NAIA tournament quarterfinals for the right to represent the Duer Quadrant in the semifinals. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.