Fri, Feb. 22, 2013 - [Women's Basketball]
#12 Simpson, 76
An opening round win on Tuesday over Coe in overtime was emotional, fun, and memorable. Thursday's game at top-seeded Simpson had a similar feel to it as the Duhawks refused to let the Storm pull away. But in the end, the regular season champs did enough on their home floor to advance to Sunday's title game.
The Storm never led by double digits in the first half and only briefly in the second, with the Duhawks answering on each possession following any big lead the hosts opened. The first half was as back-and-forth as any Loras played in this season, with five ties and eight lead changes through the first 20 minutes. Simpson led the entire second half, but it wasn't easy – even on a night when they'd shoot 43% from long distance on their home floor.
With three minutes to go, Melissa Herrmann cut the lead to just two points at 65-63. Then, down by five points with a minute to play, Kelly Rogowski sent in her third long distance shot of the night to make it 71-68. It was Loras' eighth three-pointer of the night and put some pressure on the hosts to convert something on their end in the final minute. Without hesitation, Chelsei Rohrs fired up the twelfth made three-pointer of the night for the Storm on the next possession, essentially put the game out of reach with 30 seconds to play.
Rogowski topped her 16-point effort from Tuesday with that late three-pointer to finish with a team high 19 points. Brit Kent came off the bench to shoot 6-for-9 from the field and end the night with 13. Niki Rivera made all three of her long distance shots in the first half to finish with nine points. Herrmann finished with six points and ten rebounds.
Loras shot a healthy 45% from the field and 50% from the three-point arc, but the Storm's IIAC MVP candidate Katie Nielsen led four starters in double figures with 28 points and the Duhawks simply turned the ball over too much – 23 times in all. Just six of the Storm's 76 points came off the bench.
Loras' 18 wins are the most under head coach Justin Heinzen.
The loss brings an end to the careers of six Duhawks – each of whom saw action throughout the 2012-13 season – Brittney Cato, Niki Rivera, Melissa Herrmann, Kelly Rogowski, Rachel Kerchefske, and Brit Kent.