Simpson wins IIAC Tournament, punches ticket to NCAAs
INDIANOLA, Iowa – On Feb. 13, Dubuque came to Cowles Fieldhouse and spoiled Simpson's chance at an undefeated Iowa Conference season, putting a damper on senior night and the presentation of the Iowa Conference regular season championship trophy.
Sunday's trophy presentation was different.
Kelsie Reeves scored a career-high 24 points and top-seeded Simpson contained everyone not named Mollie Whiting in a 79-68 win over Dubuque in the Iowa Conference Tournament Championship game, earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship.
Reeves went 8-for-11 from the field and dished out six assists for the Storm (25-2), who posted the second most wins in school history and will appear in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth year in a row.
Simpson is one of a number of teams eligible to host the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which will be held March 1-2. Head coach Brian Niemuth and his team will learn their destination and opponent when the tournament selection show airs at 1:30 p.m. CT on Monday, Feb. 25. The show will be streamed live on NCAA.com.
Mollie Whiting scored 37 points on 15 of 25 shooting and pulled down six rebounds for the third-seeded Spartans (20-8), who handed Simpson its only loss of the conference season, 72-56 on Feb. 13.
In three games, Whiting averaged 33 points per contest in the IIAC Tournament.
Reeves got to the basket at will in the first half, then stepped back and showed her range in the second. Averaging 6.3 points per game coming into the day, Reeves went 4-for-5 from the floor en-route to 12 first-half points, then hit three 3s in the second half. She scored eight of Simpson's first 12 points.
Simpson built a 12-point lead midway through the first half, but Dubuque cut the lead to four on a Whiting Jumper with 4:15 left in the first.
Nielsen made three straight free throws, Crisp hit a 3 and Reeves canned a jumper as Simpson closed the half on an 8-0 run. A Brooke Panzer layup and another Crisp 3 started the second half, giving Simpson a commanding 42-25 lead.
Simpson led by as many as 24 in the second half and its lead never dropped below double digits.
Notes: Simpson has won 7 of the 14 IIAC Tournaments … the Storm last won the IIAC Tournament in 2010 – Coe won the last two … the Storm are now 26-7 all-time in the IIAC Tournament and 24-2 at home … Simpson will make its 13 appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 11th under Brian Niemuth … the school record for wins in a season is 27, set in 2008.