Clarke University Women’s Basketball is making noise at the national level through their dominant play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Head Coach Courtney Boyd’s Pride earned their third NAIA national tournament berth in the last four years this past season and ranked No. 8 nationally for several weeks. The Pride also pocketed back-to-back NAIA national tournament appearances in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Clarke’s 2021 squad won the Heart of America Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, advanced to the second round of the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship in Sioux City, Iowa, and fashioned a 23-3 overall record for a .885 winning percentage, the highest in program history.
The past four years have been the winningest four-year span since the women’s basketball program tipped off its first intercollegiate season in the fall of 1974. Boyd and her squad have compiled a 91-33 overall record in the last four seasons.
This year’s success can be attributed to several key performers, including seniors Makenna Haase, of Freedom, Wis., Morgan Pitz, of Farley, Iowa, juniors Skylar Culbertson, of East Dubuque, Ill., Emma Kelchen, of Bellevue, Iowa, Tina Ubl, of Shiocton, Wis., and Kailee Van Zeeland, of Greenleaf, Wis., sophomore Giana Michels, of Bellevue, Iowa, and freshman Nicole McDermott, of Cascade, Iowa.
Haase, a four-time All-American, finished her career as Clarke’s all-time leading scorer (1,975), rebounder (1,246) and shot blocker (213). Pitz also earned honorable mention All-American honors as a junior.
Six members of this year’s team landed spots on the Heart of America Athletic Conference All-Conference team, including Hasse (13.3 ppg, 8.8 rpg), Kelchen (8.3 ppg, 5,7 rpg), McDermott (11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Michels (9.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Pitz (9.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Ubl (10.8, 3.9 ppg).
The Pride have a strong foundation in place and will be looking for yet another NAIA national tournament berth when the 2021-22 season tips off this fall. To learn more about Clarke Women’s Basketball and how you can cheer on The Pride, check out clarkepride.com.