1993 NCAA Div. III champions
PELLA—Laura Porter (senior, Monroe, PCM HS) knocked down two free throws with 2 seconds remaining as the Central College women’s basketball team rallied for a 75-73 victory over Martin Luther College (Minn.) Saturday.
Down 42-31 at intermission, Central (4-6) didn’t take its first lead until a Porter layup with 5:35 left. Guard Sarah Paulson (freshman, Ottumwa) broke a 71-71 tie with a pair of free throws with 25 seconds remaining but Martin Luther (3-7) answered with a Hannah Bode jumper in the lane with 15 seconds left. Porter brought the ball up the floor, then drew the foul as she drove down the lane.
“Laura Porter stepped up,” coach Jerry Nikkel said. We didn’t take a time-out on that last possession, we just let them go. Laura did what she’s supposed to do.”
Porter finished with a season-high 24 points and seven rebounds, including 18 second-half points. Forward Emily De Jong (senior, Ankeny) had another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds while center Andrea Clark (sophomore, Guthrie Center) had 11 points and nine boards.
“Emily De Jong played so hard,” Nikkel said. “She was on the floor for 35 minutes. During time-outs I could tell she was exhausted but we need her out there. She gives us some stability.”
Clark was limited to 21 minutes because of foul trouble, but was instrumental in Central’s comeback.
“Andrea did a nice job in the second half of rebounding and kicking it out to start the fast break,” Nikkel said.
“We had a good start to the second half. We hit our first couple shots and that set the tone. We got the lead down to single digits and I think that made us play a little harder on defense. We haven’t played aggressively enough on defense. We’re giving up too many good shots.”
The Dutch prevailed despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the floor and committing 25 turnovers. But Central hit 20 of 26 free throws and held a 43-38 rebounding advantage.
“I’m just so pleased we were able to win a close game,” Nikkel said. “The last few years we haven’t been able to pull those out. It shows where we’re at attitude-wise and how hard these players have worked.”
Central has matched last year’s season wins total.
The Dutch break for fall semester exams next week before closing out their pre-Christmas schedule next Saturday with a 2 p.m. game against Nebraska Wesleyan. The contest is part of a women’s-men’s doubleheader with the men meeting Westminster College (Mo.) at 4 p.m. The Dutch women fell at Nebraska Wesleyan last year 79-64 but hold a 6-2 lead over the Prairie Wolves in the all-time series.