Nielsen leads Storm in season-opening victory

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The Simpson women's basketball team started the season off on the right foot Friday night with a 71-60 victory over UW-La Crosse in the first game of the UW-Eau Claire Tip-Off Tournament. 

Kate Nielsen (Urbandale, Iowa) scored a career-high 28 points and brought down 10 rebounds to record her first double-double of the season. She started off hot from the field, scoring 19 of her 28 points in the first half.

"I just came out ready to play and took advantage of scoring opportunities," Nielson said. "My teammates did a great job feeding the post and pushing the ball which led to easy chances."

Simpson (1-0) got off to a slow start, trailing by as many as 10 in the first half. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Nicole Crisp (Shiprock, New Mexico) and Kelsie Reeves (Des Moines, Iowa) led the comeback charge for the Storm, creating three steals each as part of Simpson's overwhelming full-court pressure.

Crisp's defensive effort helped Simpson mount a 13-3 run late in the first half to go up 32-28, getting all three steals in a one minute span. The Storm went into halftime with a 40-32 advantage.

And they never looked back.

Simpson withheld small second half surges by the Eagles (0-1) led by the hot hand of Trisha Van Dusseldorp, who went 5-for-7 from behind the arc. 

Brooke Panzer (Lincoln, Nebraska) and Whitney Van Wyk (Altoona, Iowa) dropped in nine and six points, respectively, in their collegiate debuts.

The Storm close play at the tournament on Saturday when they face UW-Eau Claire at 5 p.m.  The Blugolds ended the Storm's season a year ago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.