CEDAR RAPIDS – Mount Mercy College made nine of 10 free throw opportunities in overtime and Iowa Wesleyan College saw its six-game win streak snapped in an 83-78 overtime loss to the Mustangs Saturday in Midwest Collegiate Conference play.
The Mustangs stayed in the race for the conference title, moving within a half game of the Tigers in the conference standings and created a three-way tie in the loss column. Despite a gutty effort on the road IWC was unable to get a key road win and dropped to 11-2 in the MCC (16-9 overall).
The Tigers were ultimately done in by a 19-0 run by the Mustangs midway through the second half that changed the game’s complexion. IWC led 52-44 after a three-pointer by Ali DeVries (Jr.-Bellevue, Iowa) with 14:01 left and appeared ready to take control of the game, but the Tigers would go dry for the next 6:42. During that time Mount Mercy would turn the eight-point deficit into a 63-52 lead, capped by a lay-up by Shanda Novak with 8:35 left in regulation.
IWC did come firing right back and eventually took a lead in the final minute. The Tigers first got back-to-back three-pointers from DeVries and a free throw from Sherry Zehner (Jr.-St. Louis, Mo.) to cut the deficit to 63-59. After MMC scored, Wesleyan then got a three-pointer from Megan Couch (Jr.-Mooresville, Ind.) and a three-point play from Rachel Mitchell (Sr.-Des Moines, Iowa) to tie the score at 65-65 with 3:16 left in regulation.
Mitchell hit another driving lay-up with 52 seconds left in the game to give the Tigers a 69-67 lead, but Novak scored inside for the Mustangs with 34 seconds left to tie the game again. IWC turned it over with six seconds left in regulation, and after a timeout Mount Mercy was unable to get off a final shot before the buzzer.
The overtime was marked by the Mustangs’ free throw shooting and a sluggish start for the Tigers. Mount Mercy never trailed in the extra session, taking the lead on two free throws from Katie Manning with 3:15 left.
Wesleyan had to play from behind throughout the period and did not score until Heather Larson (Jr.-Canton, Ill.) hit two free throws with 2:34 left. The Tigers still had two chances to tie in the final minute, the last time after the Mustangs’ missed a free throw with 14 seconds left and a three-point lead. IWC’s shot attempt with seven seconds left was blocked, though, and Heather Bachman hit two free throws with six seconds left to seal the win for MMC.
DeVries led the Tigers with 18 points, including five three-pointers. Larson had 16 points and Mitchell and Anna Jones (Fr.-Cornell, Ill.) both had 15 points. Jones also had a game- and personal season-high nine assists, while Brittany Okland (Sr.-Kelley, Iowa) had 12 rebounds.
IWC, Mount Mercy and Grand View are now all separated by one-half game in the conference standings, with GVU joining IWC at 11-2 and MMC at 10-2. Wesleyan will next host Grand View on Wednesday night in a huge game with a share of first place on the line. The game will also play a big role in the race for the conference championship as well determining positioning in the conference tournament. Game time at Ruble Arena will be 5:30 p.m.
For more information regarding the IWC basketball programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.