SIOUX CITY | This isn’t the way the Morningside College women’s basketball team wanted to head into the Christmas break.
Hastings snapped the Mustangs’ 10-game win streak with a 75-64 victory Saturday at the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center.
Moreover, the Broncos ended an eight-game skid against Morningside and won at Allee Gym for the first time since Nov. 19, 2011 (54-50).
From early in the second quarter on, Hastings made Morningside look as if it was taking an early holiday.
“Hastings played so much harder than us it was almost embarrassing,” Morningside Coach Jamie Sale said. “They wanted it, they defended us great. Everything we talked about in practice we didn’t do right and they took us out of it and deserved to win by far. I’m surprised it was even that close, to be honest, because they outplayed us so much.”
Madison Braun, who scored nine points in the first quarter to stake Morningside to a 21-17 lead, made her final basket of the game with 7:26 left in the second quarter. That gave the Mustangs their biggest lead, 28-19, but Hastings went on a 20-6 run to close out the half.
Shandra Farmer, who fired in a game-high 26 points, nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to end the half, giving Hastings a 39-34 lead. The Broncos pushed their advantage to double figures, 47-37, on a basket by Rachel Jelden at the 6:09 mark of the third quarter and led 56-47 heading into the final stanza.
Morningside pulled within 61-56 when Lauren Lehmkuhl scored with 3:56 remaining, but the Broncos secured the win by going on a 9-4 spurt the next three minutes.
“Defensively we were really good,” Hastings Coach Jina Douglas said. “I was dumb enough to try to start in the press against them and they hit a couple threes early but once we settled down and got into our man I thought we were really good and kind of disrupted them offensively, especially their rhythm.”
Another key factor was rebounding, where Hastings held a 39-28 advantage. The Broncos had 13 offensive rebounds and Morningside seven.
“At halftime we had eight offensive rebounds and we kept telling them they had to go to the offensive boards to get us second chances,” Douglas said. “Against that zone sometimes it’s tough to get a good look. I thought our post players did a really good job both offensive and defensive rebounding.”
Farmer, a 5-3 sophomore from Hastings St. Cecilia, was 10-for-15 from the field and made five 3-pointers, a couple from very long range. Jelden contributed 11 points and eight rebounds while Gabby Grasso gave the Broncos a lift off the bench with 13 points and Mackenzie Willicott also tallied 13 points.
Freshman Sierra Mitchell matched her season scoring average with 14 points to lead Morningside, now 12-3 overall and 6-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Jordyn Moser added a season-high 13 points and Braun 11, Moser finishing two points shy of her career best.
The Mustangs, though, were held to their lowest point total of the season and made just 5 of 24 3-point shots. They came into the contest second in the nation with an average of 11 per game.
“They were just flat-out tougher than us,” Sale said. “We’ve talked about having to get tougher and defensively we’re not doing what we’re supposed to do and our practices haven’t been great. We’ve played some average teams to close games and knew we weren’t sharp and finally played a team that took advantage of that.”
Morningside’s schedule doesn’t get any easier as three of the next four opponents are nationally ranked. After playing Mayville State and Jamestown (tied with Morningside for No. 6) in the Briar Cliff Holiday Classic Dec. 29-30, the Mustangs travel to No. 9 Dakota Wesleyan and No. 2 Concordia.
No. 16 Hastings (10-2, 5-2) has beaten Dakota Wesleyan and Morningside in its last two games.