Marian University women's basketball claimed its first national title Tuesday with a 59-48 victory over Southern Oregon University in the NAIA Div. II championship.
Ninth-ranked Marian broke the game open midway through the second quarter with a 12-2 run sparked by back-to-back three pointers from senior Lakan Hasser-Smith. The Knights' defense kept No. 3 Southern Oregon in check the rest of the way, holding the Raiders to just 11 of 38 shooting in the second half.
Hasser-Smith was named Most Outstanding Player of the game, after recording her fifth straight double-digit scoring performance with 16 points. She also became the first Knight to hit the 2,000-point plateau. She reached the milestone on her final basket, a 3-pointer with 9:26 left in the game.
Marian head coach Katie Gearlds, in just her third season, was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year. She guidied the Knights to a record-breaking 32-6 season.