CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Brittany Hedrick scored a game-high 21 points, but Coe used a big second-half run to break open a close game, beating the Simpson women's basketball team 70-64 in the first round of the Iowa Conference Tournament on Tuesday night.
Megan Hayes scored 16 points for the third-seeded Kohawks (18-8), who advance to the semifinals to face second-seeded Luther on Thursday.
Katie Ahrenholtz added 18 points for the sixth-seeded Storm (16-10), who suffered a first-round exit for the second season in a row. Simpson was making its first appearance in the tournament as a six-seed.
The game was tied 37-37 before Allie Wirth hit a jumper, starting a string a six-straight Coe points. Ahrenholtz made a jumper to slow the momentum, but Coe mounted a crippling 20-3 run that resulted in a 55-40 lead with 8:13 to play.
Coe led by as many as 17 and was up 62-46 when Simpson made a late run.
Hedrick made three treys in the final 3:21 and Ahrenholtz scored seven points down the stretch to make it interesting, but Coe made enough free throws to keep Simpson from making it too close.
Hedrick finished the game shooting 7-for-14 from the field and 5-for-6 from beyond the arch.
Free throws were a big reason the Kohawks advanced. Simpson made six more field goals, but Coe went 26-for-36 from the free throw line compared to just 5-for-9 for the Storm.
Coe led 33-25 in the first half before a jumper by Ahrenholtz helped Simpson close the half on an 8-0 run, tying the game 33-33 at the break.
Simpson fell to 26-9 all-time in the Iowa Conference Tournament, which began in 2000 … the last time Simpson and Coe met in the conference tournament was the championship game in 2012, a 20-point Coe win … Simpson will return all of its varsity minutes in 2015-16, losing just one senior to graduation.