By BOB DeVINNEY
Kirkwood (Iowa) scored 10 unanswered points during a 3-1/2-minute span early in the second half, snapping a halftime tie with Carl Sandburg, and held on down the stretch to claim a 76-67 win and the 1997 NJCAA Women's Division II national championship Saturday night.
Freshman Desiree Francis scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Eagles and coach Kim Muhl to their first junior college national title. Based on her four-game performance, Francis was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
"The 10-point run at the start of the second half was the difference," said Francis. "Once we get a lead there's no looking back. Give credit to our guards, they played great second-half defense."