On March 4, the women’s team was overpowered by the number one seed Western Illinois University (25-26; 13-3), falling 82-39. The Pioneers only shot 25 percent from the field even though they out-rebounded Western Illinois.
The match was seniors Jesse Spittel (Yorba Linda, California), Jacqlyn Poss (Shoreview, Minnesota) and Tori Bryant’s (Brea, California) final game with the Pioneers. Poss, a guard, scored eight points, tying with junior forward Jordyn Alt (North Oaks, Minnesota) for the Pioneers’ game high.
Freshmen Madison Nelson (Dover, Minnesota) and Briana Johnson (Carson, California) both had a good night, showing potential for next year. Nelson, a forward, had seven rebounds while Johnson, a guard, had 10.
DU finished the year 6-24 overall, with one more win than last year.
The men dropped their first round game of the Summit League 83-73 to South Dakota State University (16-16; 8-8), their second loss in a row to the Jackrabbits (dating back to the last game of the regular season) as well as their second year in a row being knocked out of the conference tournament by SDSU.
Faced with a streaking SDSU and Summit League Player of the Year Mike Daum, the Pioneers couldn’t overcome an almost constant South Dakota lead. Coming off a four-game winning streak, South Dakota State had momentum going into the game, and they kept it. Daum scored a game-high 33 points, while DU’s highest scorer, sophomore forward C.J. Bobbitt (Harker Heights, Texas), scored 16.
Freshman guard Ade Murkey (Minneapolis, Minnesota) and sophomore guard Joe Rosga (St. Paul, Minnesota) put up 10 points each. Murkey collected five rebounds in the first half, but despite his strong performance, the Pioneers couldn’t stay within reach.
The Pioneers ended the year with a 16-14 record, recording the same amount of wins they had last year. A 1-5 end to the season ruined hopes for a conference title and a possible NCAA tournament berth, but under first year Head Coach Rodney Billups’s tutelage, the team thrived and developed a faster, more exciting style of play that bodes well for next year. The Pioneers are also only losing one player to graduation, so barring any transfers, the team will be able to build on this year’s success as a unit.