Minnesota Duluth women’s basketball stages massive rally to win Division II Central Region

The Minnesota Duluth women’s team rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Missouri Southern 77-76 at home in the NCAA Division II Central Region championship game Monday night, giving the Bulldogs their first Elite Eight berth in stunning fashion.

The Bulldogs (30-3) still trailed by 11 with 1 minute, 40 seconds to go but closed the game on a 16-4 run. Maesyn Thiesen, scoreless up to that point, hit a pair of three-pointers during the closing finish.

Taytum Rhoades’ steal with 29 seconds left gave UMD the ball down one. Ella Gilbertson then hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 16 seconds to go, and Kryslyn Jones missed a shot at the buzzer for Missouri Southern (29-7).

Gilbertson and Brooke Olson each scored 21 points for UMD, which advances to the national quarterfinals March 24 in Birmingham, Ala. The semifinals are March 25 and the national championship game March 27.

The UMD men play Southern Nazarene for the Central Region title on Tuesday night in Maryville, Mo.

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