SIOUX CITY | Uncanny shooting gave Briar Cliff an early cushion on the Morningside College women’s basketball team and the Chargers were still in front late in the second quarter Saturday at the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center.
That all changed in the third quarter when No. 13 (NAIA Division II) Morningside rang up 31 points and pulled away for its 16th consecutive victory over the Chargers, 93-70.
Briar Cliff made its first seven shots – six from beyond the 3-point arc – and raced to a 20-7 lead with 6:18 left in the first quarter.
The Mustangs, however, went on a 12-2 run the rest of the quarter to pull within 22-19 at the break, then scored the final seven points of the half. Sierra Mitchell drained a 3-pointer with 1:14 left in the half to put Morningside in front and it took a 43-37 halftime lead on a shot in the closing seconds by Jordyn Moser.
Morningside outscored the Chargers 31-13 in the third quarter, reeling off 20 points in a row after BC’s Taylor Wagner hit a three to open the stanza.
The Mustangs improved to 34-2 against Briar Cliff with Jamie Sale at the helm, improving to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
“We started out in our zone that we’re usually in and they were just killing us on it so we switched to man,” Sale said. “When we switched to man it kind of switched the tide a little bit. We were on their shooters a lot better and were able to challenge shots. I think defensively after that start we did a really good job.”
Sydney Hupp led the way for the Mustangs with 21 points and nine rebounds while Mitchell canned five of six 3-pointers and scored 19 points. Madison Braun, coming off a career-high 38 points in a loss at Northwestern Wednesday, added 15 points for her 20th consecutive double figure performance.
Jenna Bork came off the bench to tally nine points as the Morningside bench outscored BCU’s 27-14.
“I think our bench did a great job, not just scoring but defensively,” Sale said. “Faith and Grace Meyer, Alex Gill, Jenna Bork and Mady Maly came off the bench and played really well.”
Morningside shot 59 percent in the second half while limiting Briar Cliff to 10 of 30 for 33.3 percent.
“I thought we played three good quarters and one not-so-good quarter and it happened to be the third quarter and that was the ballgame right there,” Briar Cliff Coach Mike Power said. “Tip your hat to them, they did make the shots, but they were wide open. We didn’t play any resemblance of defense in that stretch (third quarter). We did a great job of eliminating shooters in the first half, then we just went on vacation and it’s frustrating. If we could have stuck to what we were doing good things might have happened.”
Johanna Vaske scored 20 points for Briar Cliff (8-16, 5-9), making all eight of her free throws. Faith Troshynski tacked on 15 points, Wagner 11 and Julie Targy 10. Logan Ehlers contributed nine points and nine rebounds in a reserve role.