SIOUX CITY – Morningside College rallied from a 24-point deficit in the second half and the Iowa Wesleyan College women’s basketball team was dealt its second straight wrenching defeat with a 103-96 overtime loss to the Mustangs Saturday afternoon at the Morningside Classic.
The Tigers, ranked 12th in the NAIA Division II Preseason Top 25 Coaches’ Poll, lost to a ranked team for the second straight day, falling to #5 Morningside less than 24 hours after losing to 21st-ranked Hastings. Both losses came in games in which IWC had sizeable leads in the second half, but the Tigers left the tournament with two losses and a 1-2 overall record.
Wesleyan led 69-45 with 8:05 left in the game after Melanie McCreight (Sr.-Winfield, Iowa) hit a three-pointer, the Tigers’ 11th three of the game at that point. But red-hot shooting for the Mustangs coupled with foul trouble and turnovers by IWC allowed the hosts to get to overtime.
Morningside would hit seven three-pointers over the final 7:45 of regulation, though, and finally tied the game on a free throw by Chelsie Trask with nine seconds left. The Tigers still led by ten at 81-71 with 2:16 left after two free throws by McCreight, but got off only two more field goal attempts and two free throws the rest of regulation while turning it over three times.
Despite having starters Sheray Brown (Sr.-Detroit, Mich.) and Abby Brend (Jr.-Ogden, Iowa) sidelined by fouls late in regulation, the Tigers hung in and were still tied at 96-96 with 1:04 left in overtime after Jill Ginder (Sr.-Olney, Ill.) hit two free throws. Tanaeya Worden hit a three-pointer with 49 seconds left, though, for the go-ahead points, and the IWC missed three three-point tries while the Mustangs hit four free throws in the final 16 seconds.
Morningside’s comeback spoiled a terrific shooting performance and several outstanding individual efforts for the Tigers. IWC shot 56.7% for the game, hitting 34 of 60 shots, including 12 of 29 three-point tries (41.4%). Wesleyan also got a career-high 30 points from McCreight, while Brown and Anna Jones (Jr.-Cornell, Ill.) both had double-doubles. Brown had 14 points and 14 rebounds and was 7 for 7 from the field, while Jones had 19 points and 12 assists. IWC also finished the first half on a 30-7 run over the final 11 minutes, turning an early eight-point deficit into a 42-27 lead at the break.
The Mustangs countered with 14 three-pointers in the game and took advantage of 29 turnovers by the Tigers. Morningside shot 42.9% (33-for-77), including 37.8% on threes, but made 9 of its final 15 three-point tries. The five Mustang starters combined for 92 points, led by Trask with 23 points.
IWC will return home Tuesday night to face Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College at 7 p.m. at Ruble Arena. A live broadcast will be available to watch at www.iwc.edu/onlinemedia.
Box score #5 Morningside 103 #12 IWC 96 (OT)