The No. 4 Briar Cliff Chargers faced down the No. 3 Mount Mercy Mustangs 81-76 for the upset in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament.
Briar Cliff got out to a quick start, but Mount Mercy was able to take their first lead with 10:40 remaining as Becca Lampe hit two free throws.
Mattie Murren hit a three-pointer for the Chargers to tie the game 19-19 with nine-and-a-half minutes to go in the half.
From then on, the Mustangs took charge and held the lead through the half as four of the five starters capitalized on free throws. A large portion of the Mustangs’ points came from free throws, as both teams played physically, racking up fouls in double digits.
At the half, the Mustangs were 14-14 from the stripe, hitting the shots perfectly.
The Mustangs headed off the court leading the Chargers 37-31 at the half.
Mike Power, Briar Cliff head coach, received a technical after disagreeing with an official about an offensive foul charged to Megan Salcedo three minutes into the second half.
Briar Cliff tied the game 49-49 with 11:38 left.
At 7:16, Salcedo got a bucket after an offensive rebound, giving the Chargers their first lead of the second half, 61-60. At this point, the game began depending on free throws. After eight foul shots between both teams, Micha Mims drained a three-pointer coming out of a timeout to tie the game at 70.
With 2:40 remaining, Kylie Dilla, senior guard, answered with a crucial three-pointer for the Chargers, giving them the 73-70 lead.
She’s a clutch shooter,” Power said. “In clutch situations she hits big-time shots. She has done it her whole career.”
The Chargers went on a 7-0 run and Sara Reeves took a risky charge, as she had four fouls.
Mims hit two free throws with 42 seconds remaining to make it 77-72. In the remaining 40 seconds, the Chargers hit four free throws to end the game at 81-76.
Emily Greiner, Danielle Herdliska and Brooke Quigley fouled out for the Mustangs while Kristen Twaite fouled out for the Chargers.
Cihak led the Chargers with 22 points. Teammates Salcedo, Murren and Evans joined her in the double digits with 10, 15 and 17 points respectively.
“You don’t know who it’s going to be for us 99 percent of the time,” Power said. “We have a lot of kids on that bench who can hit shots, who are good players. It was nice to see Kela do it.”
Briar Cliff will play Northwestern at 6 p.m. on Monday in the semifinals.
Contributed to by Kit Grode