UMD’s Memorable Season Comes to a Close in First-Ever National Title Game

UMD finishes the year with a program best 32-4 record.

DALLAS, Texas.- Saturday was the day that the UMD women’s basketball team competed in their first-ever Division II National Championship game.

The Bulldogs would come into the matchup with a 32-3 record while their opponent, Ashland was a perfect 36-0.

UMD would have some high points in the 1st, including an Ella Gilbertson drive-

by lay in that gave them a 7-5 lead.

But after that, Ashland would make it a driving point by getting the ball inside and finishing at the hoop. The Eagles would lead 40-22 at the break.

UMD’s leading scorer for the 1st half was Taya Hakamaki with five points.

In the 2nd half, Graduate forward Brooke Olson would break the Division II NCAA tournament scoring record in the 3rd with her 150th point this March.

Olson wasn’t done as she would hit a clutch three to pull the Bulldogs

within seven in the fourth. The closest margin the Bulldogs faced since the 1st quarter.

The 6th year forward would lead UMD with 26 points in the contest.

Sadly in the end, the Bulldogs late rally wouldn’t be enough as they fall in the title game 78 to 67.

Afterwards, UMD head coach Mandy Pearson and her two graduate players Brooke Olson and Maesyn Thiesen, reflected on their time with the team.

“I think when there was four seconds left was the first time I really saw them hang their shoulders. That is absolutely incredible. That’s what happens when you have two leaders like Maesyn and Brooke. What they’ve meant to me personally. I’m speechless. I just don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of two people for what their five years looked like at UMD,” said Pearson.

“I don’t think I’m ever going to be sad about the game or the experience that we’ve had, I’m just sad that it’s over. I’m sad that I’m not going to put a Bulldogs jersey again. Just this season of my life is done so that’s probably the hardest part. Looking back I’m probably going to remember this year more than anything,” added Olson.

“In all the schools, AU programs, everyone was behind us. We all played for different programs and different high school teams. But we knew when we came to Duluth that we were going to play together and we got that great opportunity,” said Thiesen.

Even with the tough loss, members of the team were still positive when thinking about the future.

“I think we both know our role on the team. So, whether that’s for us to be more aggressive on the offensive end or to be more aggressive on the defensive end, I think we’ve stepped into that. I just think it’s been amazing to learn from our seniors and to be with them on the court. I think it’s been very exciting for us to step into those roles and hopefully it will continue into next year, but it’s been exciting,” said junior forward Ella Gilbertson.

“This postseason has definitely been a journey for all of us. It’s been really exciting to have the community behind us throughout the entire thing. We definitely grew as a team throughout the year and throughout the postseason. We’re going to work hard and bounce back from that loss and just build as a team for the incoming freshman as well next year,” added Hakamaki.

The Bulldogs finish the year with a program best 32-4 record.




Categories: College, Sports, University of Minnesota – Duluth