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NWA Pipeline Leads To National Title For UCM

WARRENSBURG, MO (KFSM)--Over the weekend, the University of Central Missouri captured the women's basketball Division II national championship with a 66-52 win over Ashland. The win snapped the Eagles' 73 game streak dating back to last season.

A big part of the Jennies success came from a strong pipeline to Northwest Arkansas high school basketball.

"We got lucky and found an AAU team that we loved and we’ve got a bunch of Northwest Arkansas kids that are the heart of our team," head coach Dave Slifer said.

Thanks to the  Arkansas Wings, UCM ended up with five talented players who were both teammates and rivals in the 7A-West. Madison Sandor (Rogers), Peyton Taylor (Bentonville), Sydney Crockett (Fayetteville), Emilie Jobst (Heritage) and Paige Redmond (Har-Ber).

"Our coaches there they just really get us prepared for the next level and I think it says a lot for where we’re from," Jobst said.

Slifer added, "It’s a great place, great pipeline, good talent and they’re well coached."

Redmond led the Jennies in scoring and was named MVP of the national tournament.

"We played together in high school also, we did AAU together, so having a built relationship already and then coming into this is just amazing," Redmond said.

"Being recruited with girls I went to high school with and played summer ball traveling across the country with, it takes the experience to another level with the emotions I’ve had with them," said Taylor.

"With four other girls from Northwest Arkansas, it kind of gave me another boost to come here cause they know how we play. We play really tough in the 7A-West," Sandor said.

"We still have that bond that we did from AAU and it was great to come in to play with them cause I had already played with them before, Crockett said.

"Our goal from the beginning, we always said wanted to win a national championship together, we always were really competitive against each other when we did play against each other in high school," Jobst said.

All five players return next season, as the Jennies look to add their third national title in program history to the trophy case.