CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Fourth-seeded Clarke managed to hold on to a late lead, knocking down 4-of-5 free throws during the final minute to clinch a 56-52 victory over third-seeded Mount Mercy on Monday in the championship game of the Midwest Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Tournament.
This game certainly met the standard that was set during the regular season, which meant a tough, low-scoring battle. Neither team led by more than five points in the opening period, which ended with the Crusaders in front, 27-26. The Mustangs surged ahead by a point early in the second half, then saw Clarke open up a seven-point lead, 50-43, with 3:49 to go in the contest.
A trey by Paige Last and traditional 3-point play by Makenzie Zeitler got Mount Mercy within a point, 50-49, near the two-minute mark. Then, after two Anna Hahn free throws, the Mustangs missed a pair of game-tying 3-pointers on two straight possessions. Clarke's Amanda Hamilton sealed the win for the Crusaders at the foul line during the game's final 20 seconds.
Mount Mercy (19-14) got nearly half its points from Alisa Weiland, who knocked down four 3-pointers and totaled a game-high 24 points. She also collected four rebounds and a pair of assists. Abby Herb and Christa Oldham added six points each. Danielle Herdliska tallied three assists and four steals and Ashley Dolan grabbed five boards.