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Briar Cliff women's basketball readies for back-to-back trips to NAIA Final Site

SIOUX CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – We’re down to 16 teams in the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Tournament, and it’s a familiar spot for Briar Cliff women’s basketball who embark on back-to-back trips to the Final Site in Sioux City while aiming to continue its title trek inside the Tyson Events Center.

Returning two fifth-year seniors Payton Slaughter and leading scorer Konnor Sudmann, the Chargers are back to where they wanna be in March. Averaging 81.2 points per game while allowing just 67.2 points per game, defense has been their focus into the Final Site.

Senior guard Kennedy Benne continues her reign as GPAC Defensive Player of the Year while the team put together a stunning upset on #2 seed Vanguard in the NAIA 2nd round, giving them a better road record than home at 11-4.

But learning from their Sweet Sixteen loss a year ago, it’s that experience and D.A.W.G mentality that the Chargers believe can take them the distance.

“That D.A.W.G. mentality is “Defense And Win Games” so that’s kind of been the core for our team is we’re a defensive team first,” Briar Cliff senior guard Kennedy Benne said. “Even if our shots aren’t falling, defense is all about effort and hard work so we just need to go out there and get stops and then our offense will come.”

“Our defense leads into our transition break away layups, and I think we have gotten back to that and that’s gonna helps us make a run in this tournament as well,” Briar Cliff junior forward Rachel Langel said.

“We’ve built a strong culture here within our program,” Briar Cliff head coach Brian Ortmeier said. “The experienced players that we have have really bought into that and it’s trickled down into our underclassmen. Kind of a fighter’s mentality, and I think that’s what has carried us to make this run here in the postseason.”

#7 seed Briar Cliff takes on #6 seed Indiana Tech for the NAIA Final Site Round of 16 at 8:00pm on Friday, March 22nd inside the Tyson Events Center. The meeting will be a rematch from the NAIA 2nd round last year where the Chargers won 87-79.

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