The No. 3 seed Mount Mercy University moves on to the semi-finals for the first time in 17 years as they defeated the No. 2 seed Morningside College 79-72.
After falling back, 43-42 in the first five minutes in the second half, Mount Mercy went on a 15-5 run, which was capped by a senior Micha Mims three-pointer with seven minutes remaining.
Mourningside was able to shave the margin to four points with one-and-a-half minutes left, but Mount Mercy managed to hold onto their lead for the rest of the games.
“We’ve kind of been a three-point shooting team,” said Aaron Jennings, Mount Mercy head coach. “Having that presence in the paint allows you to go inside, and then when they help inside, then you kick back out and it makes those outside shots even easier.”
Mount Mercy out-rebounded Morningside by 10 boards and limited Morningside to 20 points in the paint.
“I’m proud of our team that we didn’t give up, but in both of these games in this tournament we just didn’t shoot the ball very well,” said Jamie Sale, Morningside head coach. “We’re kind of a perimeter oriented team, we’ve got to be able to shoot the ball and we didn’t.”
Senior Bria Fields led the night for Mount Mercy with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
“We want to get the ball inside to Bria [Fields] and Amanda [Frost],” Jennings said. “There’s two players that can score in the post and make moves. That’s a game plan every single game.
Mount Mercy still had a hard time stopping Morningside’s junior Chelsie Trask who scored 26 points.
“She’s amazing,” Jennings said. “She can shoot the basketball, she plays defense, she gets to the rim – she’s a very good player.”
Both teams made over forty percent of their shots in the first half, and Morningside particularly capitalized from beyond the arch, making eight of their 20 attempts.
Morningside’s bench accounted for 25 points of their first-half points.Morningside’s junior Bobbi McManaman led in scoring for the first half with 15 points – all of which were three-pointers.
Mount Mercy moves on to play Briar Cliff in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 6 p.m.