Morningside used a furious 22-point scoring run in the second half to blow past Hastings and win the GPAC women's basketball championship outright with a 79-63 on Saturday in the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center.
The fourth-ranked Mustang won their ninth game in a row to finish the regular season with a record of 25-4, including a 17-3 mark in the GAPC to finish atop the league standings by a one-game margin over runner-up Concordia. The Mustangs won their sixth conference title during the Jamie Sale coaching era and the first since their 38-0 2008-09 NAIA Division II National Championship season. The GPAC regular season championship also locked up a NAIA Division II National Tournament berth for the Mustangs, who will make their 11th consecutive national tourney appearance.
Morningside and Hastings will meet again on Wednesday when the GPAC Post-Season Tournament begins with quarterfinal round contests at the sites of the top four seeds.
On a day when the Mustangs honored their seniors, Chelsie Trask responded with a career-high 35 points and fellow senior Bobbi McManaman chipped in with 18 for one of the top scoring efforts of her career. Both players were on fire from 3-point range as McManaman bombed in six of eight 3-point shots and Trask found the range on six of her 10 3-point shots.
Trask and McManaman were at their best during a pivotal second half stretch when they combined for all of Morningside's points when the Mustangs reeled off 22 unanswered points to turn the game around. The Mustangs' 22-point run came right after the Broncos had gone on a 10-point run of their own to take a 51-47 lead with 11:44 left in the game.
Trask stopped the Broncos' run when she made a 3-pointer with 11:02 left in the game to end a five-minute Morningside scoring drought. McManaman then struck for three-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor to shoot the Mustangs into a 59-51 lead with 8:58 left in the game. A basket by Trask, another 3-pointer by McManaman, and a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Trask capped a streak of 22 consecutive Morningside points to give the hosts an insurmountable 69-51 lead with 5:29 left.
Trask scored eight points in the first four minutes of the game to shoot the Mustangs into an early 12-5 lead, but from there the Broncos went on a 28-7 scoring run and opened a 14-point lead, 33-19, when Laurel Zwiener made a layup with 6:27 left in the half. Led by six more points from Trask, the Mustangs closed within 39-33 by the intermission.
Hastings shot a sizzling 57.1 percent from the field in the first half and had only three turnovers in the opening 20 minutes against the Mustangs' vaunted pressure defense.
Trask stayed hot with a 3-pointer to open the second half and the Mustangs took a 42-41 lead on a basket by Leann Osten with 17:06 left in the game. The Mustangs went up 47-41 when Shelby Beaudette made a layup with 16:22 left to complete a 14-2 Morningside scoring run to open the second half.
Hastings answered with a 10-0 scoring run of its own to go up 51-47 to set up the Mustangs' deciding 22-point run.
Morningside finished the contest with 13 3-point field goals in 22 attempts for a sizzling 59.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Mustangs' torrid 3-point shooting and 42-21 rebounding advantage were too much for Hastings to overcome. Hanna Blum led the Mustangs' domination of the boards with a season's high nine caroms and Trask matched her season's high with seven rebounds.
Beaudette led the winners with a game-high five assists.
Courtesy: Morningside Media Relations
Northwestern 78, Midland 67 F
Marshalltown CC 76, Iowa Lakes CC 57 F
Morningside 79, Hastings 63 F
Dakota Wesleyan 96, Briar Cliff 72 F
Buena Vista 69, Coe 66 F
Dordt 68, Doane 59, F
Sioux Falls 81, Wayne State 63 F
Buena Vista 72, Coe 63 F
Northwestern 89, Midland 86 F
Morningside 93, Hastings 85 F
Dakota Wesleyan 81, Briar Cliff 75 F
Dordt 104, Doane 73 F
Wayne State 77, Sioux Falls 57 F
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