President Bush invited the New England Patriots to the White House today (Wednesday) to honor the team for winning the Super Bowl, and Iowa legislators invited Morningside women’s basketball players to the statehouse today to honor the team for winning this year’s N-A-I-A division two national championship. It’s the second year in a row Morningside has won the championship. Jamie Sale is the coach of the Lady Mustang’s. “I’d just like to thank everybody for having us here. It’s a great honor for myself and for our players. We really do appreciate it, and hopefully this is something we can do for the next 10 years,” Sale said, to laughter and applause. Morningside finished 35-and-three, a school record for wins, and senior guard Megan Cloud scored a game high 28 points in her final game as a Lady Mustang and was named the national tournament’s most valuable player. “It was pretty amazing. It’s kind of indescribable just because it was my last game,” Cloud says. “It was definitely an honor to go out like that.” It’s the second year in a row Cloud was named the national tournament’s m-v-p. She realized heading into the title game that it might be the last time she played an organized game of basketball. “I got a little emotional before the game because I was really thinking about it, but, you know, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go out, so I guess I can’t be too sad about it,” Cloud says. Cloud has also been named the N-A-I-A women’s basketball player of the year. Cloud averaged about 20 points and nearly six rebounds a game this past season. She played high school basketball for Sioux City East. Now, Cloud is graduating and intends to become a Farm Bureau Insurance agent, but she will go to some tryouts. If she’s good enough, Cloud says she could land a spot on a women’s basketball team in Europe. Morningside beat Cedarville University 75-65 to win the national N-A-I-A division two title game, which was played in the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City. Morningside president John Reynders thanked legislators for providing a state grant for the Events Center. The crowd for the game was 6,700, the largest crowd for any N-A-I-A sporting event this past season. “All of us in Sioux City, especially those of us at Morningside, are immensely proud of the athletic and academic ability of this fine group of young women,” he says. “They have done our community, our school and the state of Iowa proud, to be sure.” The Iowa House and Senate passed resolutions today, honoring the team.
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