CRESTVIEW HILLS, Ky. — The NAIA Women's Basketball National Champions got a warm welcome when they got back to the Tri-State late Wednesday night. The team arrived shortly before 9 p.m. after a long bus ride from Iowa.
After coming up short in last year's championship game, Thomas More women's basketball dominated Dordt to win the NAIA National Championship, 77-65.
The two teams appeared evenly matched in the first seven minutes of play, as Thomas More held a four-point lead with less than four minutes left in the first quarter. The Saints then scored nine unanswered points to end the quarter, going up 21-8.
From that moment on, Thomas More never looked back. The Saints held Dordt to just seven points in the second quarter to take a 40-15 lead at halftime. The Defenders had a better offensive showing in the second half, scoring 35 points in the fourth quarter, but Dordt never got within single digits of Thomas More.
The Saints shot 45.3% from the field, their bench providing 34 points. Alexah Chrisman finished with 16 points and seven rebounds, while Zoie Barth posted 12 points and five rebounds. Dordt's Karly Gustafson led all scorers with 23 points and eight rebounds.
Thomas More was a No. 1 seed in the tournament, finishing its regular season 26-3.
Most players on the team are from the greater Cincinnati area including Campbell County High School grad Kenzie Schwarber.
"I'm so excited I mean I'm so glad we could bring it back here after not getting it last year we really wanted to come back, get it this year so we glad we could finish it," Schwarber said.
Head Coach Jeff Hans said this is a massive moment for these talented young women.
"Cutting down there and taking pictures with all our family that was there it's just special it's special for the players it's special for the university, it's special for the community because we got so many local players on the roster," Hans said.
NAIA runners-up in 2021, the Saints won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2019. The 2015 championship was later vacated.
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