July 14, 2024

University hosts NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Semifinals

Morgan Morrison, pictured here, faced her alma mater Smith College in the championship. Morrison previously won the 2023 WBCA Player of the Year at Smith.

The university hosted the NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball semifinals March 14. The two games featured Transylvania University  versus New York University, and Smith College versus Wartburg College. 

The NCAA hosted pregame interviews March 13.

Meg Barber, the head coach for New York University, is in her tenth season with the program. Coming into the game against Transylvania, Barber knew it was going to be a tough matchup.

“They’re an incredibly coached team,” Barber said. “But we’re not just happy to be here. We’re coming in with a gameplan to compete.”

Coming in against the reigning national champions, the New York University (NYU) players are seen as underdogs. 

Morgan Morrison, a fifth-year senior forward, acknowledged this statement. 

“I think a lot of people are rooting for [Transylvania] to go win it again,” Morrison said. “They’re not expecting too much from us in terms of putting up a fight.” 

Juli Fulks, the head coach for Transylvania, is a university alum. For her, playing New York University on campus was a full circle moment. Fulks was on the university women’s basketball team when they made the Final Four in 1997 at New York University.

Transylvania’s head coach, Juli Fulks, is a Capital alum. Photo by Clayton Hines.

Fulks said, “We’re just grateful to be here and for all the fans and teammates who will get to see us just because of the location.”

New York University would go on to beat Transylvania 57-42, snapping the eighth-longest win streak in NCAA Basketball history. Morrison put up a double-double.

New York University would hold Transylvania to their lowest number of points all season.

Smith College versus Wartburg College saw two 29-win teams clash. Wartburg head coach Bob Amsberry said the opportunity to be back in the Final Four was something the team had been dreaming about.

“[The opportunity] is very special. You have dreams when you get into coaching; you have dreams as a player. It’s exciting to see our vision come to reality,” Amsberry said.

Wartburg’s Sara Faber hit the tying three-pointer which took the game to overtime.

In a back and forth matchup, Wartburg guard Sara Faber hit a three-pointer with 4.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

“When Coach tells you to shoot it, you’re gonna shoot it,” Faber said. “He drew up a very well-executed play and I’m very happy it went in.”

Going into overtime, Smith guard Ally Yamada drained a three-pointer to give Smith a three point lead. 13 combined overtime points from Yamada and guard Jessie Ruffner put the game out of reach for Wartburg. 

Yamada and Ruffner combined for 46 total points, 75% of the team’s total. Ruffner also totaled 14 assists. 

The National Championship was took place in the Capital Center March 16. 

After a rough start, Smith was able to cut the lead to a one-possession game at halftime. In the end, New York University was crowned champions, winning the game 51-41.

Author

  • Clayton Hines

    Clayton is a first-year Criminology and Spanish Major. He is a Videographer for Capital and is an avid moviegoer. In his free time, he likes to watch sports and help his community by volunteering.

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