SIOUX CITY, IOWA – A furious second-half comeback fell short for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ No. 8-ranked Morningside College Wednesday, December 16.
Head coach Jim Sykes‘ Mustangs, seeing an eight-game streak snapped, got down by as much as 24 to No. 18-ranked Dakota Wesleyan University before turning up the defensive pressure and climbing to as close as nine of the visiting Tigers. However, DWU, remaining unbeaten in league action, managed to parlay a nine-of-12 outing at the charity stripe in the final three minutes to hold off their hosts 75-60.
The first 20 minutes inside Allee Gymnasium and the Rosen-Verdoorn Sports Center were icy for the Mustangs in nearly all categories. They hit just 31 percent from the field (nine-of-29), which included hitting only one three-pointer and committing seven turnovers. On the other end, the visitors were red-hot, draining seven treys and posting a stellar 52.9 percent field goal effort to build a 43-20 halftime advantage. It was the tale of two halves to the delight of the home crowd, though, as Sykes’ crew went on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 50-39 and continued to fight, getting as close as 62-53 when sophomore guard Will Pottebaum (SO/LeMars, IA) (LeMars, Iowa) knocked down a three-pointer with just under three minutes to go.
Double-doubles were the order of the evening for the Mustangs despite the final score. Senior center Trey Brown (SR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) resumed a spectacular 2020-21 campaign to date with 15 and 17 rebounds for his fifth such outing in the last seven appearances. Fellow Class of 2021 teammates Zach Imig (SR/Gretna, NE ) (Gretna, Neb.) was right behind him with his third double-double, tallying 10 points and ten boards to go with five assists. Sophomore guard Trey Powers (SO/Omaha, NE) (Omaha, Neb.) came off the bench for a scintillating 22 minutes, posting 13 points, two rebounds, a blocked shot, two steals, and two assists.
Mside (10-2 overall, 6-2 GPAC) looks to close out the first half of the conference slate on a high note Sunday, December 20. They face off against Hastings College at HC’s Lynn Farrell Arena in a 4 p.m. tip-off.
SIOUX CITY, IOWA – National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ No. 14-ranked Morningside College team never relinquished the lead Wednesday, December 16, en route to a 78-53 victory of Dakota Wesleyan.
The victory improved the top of the table Great Plains Athletic Conference Mustangs’ record to 8-2 overall and 6-1 in the league.
The hosts started off the contest by shooting 58.8% in the first quarter to lead 25-9 after 10 minutes of basketball. They continued that shooting later on in the third quarter when the Mustangs shot 11-18 from the field to outscore DWU 31-16 in that frame.
Senior guard Sierra Mitchell (SR/Pleasant Hill, Iowa) (Pleasant Hill, Iowa) led the way offensively for the Mustangs with 21 points, good for her seventh successive double-figure outing and fourth straight 20-points-or-more effort, on seven-of-13 shooting from the field overall and five for eight from three-point range. While Mitchell had a big night offensively, it was junior forward Sophia Peppers (JR/Exira, Iowa) (Exira, Iowa) that caught the eye of head coach Jamie Sale after the game. Peppers finished the game with the first double-double of the season for the Maroon. She finished with 10 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, and also added six assists, two blocks, and two steals, all part of her ninth successive double-digit outing.
“Sophia (Peppers) has turned into one of the better players in the conference,” said Sale. “She can score, she’s an excellent passer, she can rebound, she gives us a lot of mismatches, and she has become more aggressive, more confident, and has ended up being a great player.”
Mside finished the contest shooting 48.4% from the field and nine-of-21 from three-point range. Senior guard Grace Meyer (SR/Pomeroy, Iowa) (Pomeroy, Iowa) and freshman post player Chloe Lofstrom (FR/Armstrong, Iowa) (Armstrong, Iowa) also tallied double-digit scoring nights. Meyer tallied with 10 points off the bench, and Lofstrom added 13 and came one rebound shy of a double-double.
“She (Lofstrom) is coachable,” said Sale. “She has been a boost to us.”
Morningside’s defense held DWU to its fewest points scored of the season and the fewest points scored against the Mustangs since January 13, 2016, when they held the Tigers to just 48.
Sale’s squad takes to the road Sunday, December 20, for their final pre-Christmas contest. Game time is 2 p.m. at Hastings College’s Lynn Farrell Arena.