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Central outraced by No. 7 Simpson

Women's basketball | Jan. 21, 2009

PELLA—The tank finally hit empty for the Central College women’s basketball team in a frantic night of up-and-down play as No. 7-rated Simpson College pulled away for a 97-73 Iowa Conference victory Wednesday.    

The score did not reflect Central’s effort, however. When the Dutch (6-11 overall, 2-6 conference) quickly fell behind 11-0, it had the makings of a long night. And Simpson (16-1 overall, 8-0 conference) then stretched its lead to 38-19 with 7:24 left in the first half, but instead of backing down, the young Dutch battled back. They cracked the Simpson full-court press and when guard Laura Porter (senior, Monroe, PCM HS) hit a bucket in the lane with 57 seconds left, Central had climbed within 42-38. Simpson led 44-38 at intermission.

The Dutch kept the margin within 10 for much of the second half and could have crept closer were it not for a frightening free throw-shooting display (13-28), but Simpson was eventually able to wear them down. The Storm placed six players in double figures and shot 50 percent from the floor.

Central got 13points from guard Megan Carman (senior, Newton), one shy of her career high, and 10 from the Guthrie Center sophomore combo of center Andrea Clark  and guard Jordan Waddell. Forward Melanie Hopkins (freshman, Earlham) had nine points and seven rebounds while Waddell passed out five assists.

The Dutch shot 44.3 percent from the field and were narrowly outrebounded, 40-39.

“I thought we had a little stage fright the first couple of minutes but I our effort was outstanding,” coach Jerry Nikkel said. “I told the players afterwards that they’ve got to realize how hard they worked. I don’t think anybody out there wasn’t gassed at the end. It was our third game in five days and we got back from Loras at 1:30 Tuesday morning. It was hard to keep our legs. I really think that was the cause of our free throw problems.

“But I was very proud of the way we played. If we play with that kind of effort every game, we’re going to win a lot of games.”

Nikkel confirmed, however, that the Dutch will have to go the rest of the year without senior forward Emily De Jong (Ankeny) in the lineup. It was determined that the injury she suffered Saturday will end her season.

“The thing that bothers me the most is she’s a senior and can’t finish the season on the floor,” Nikkel said. “But she’s a captain and she’ll be a captain in a new role, on the bench and in the locker room. She’s a wonderful young lady. She’s going to get her elementary education degree, be a great teacher and a great success in life.”

Saturday Central meets Coe College for the second time in a week, this time in Cedar Rapids. The women’s-men’s twinbill tips off at 2 p.m. The games will be broadcast on KRLS-FM (92.1) and can also be heard via the Central athletics Web site at www.central.edu/athletics.

Coe smacked the Dutch 90-66 in Pella last Saturday. The Kohawks are 10-7 overall and 4-4 the league after pulling off a 76-64 victory at Dubuque Wednesday.


Central College