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Luther escapes Central women’s basketball squad

Women's basketball | Feb. 11, 2012

DECORAH—Central College erased a 16-point halftime deficit but came up short in the final minutes, suffering a 61-53 Iowa Conference women’s basketball loss to Luther College Saturday.

Freshman Bry Pierce (center, St. Clair, Mo.) opened the second half with back-to-back buckets, jumpstarting a 9-0 run to cut the margin to seven. Central reeled off another 9-0 spree to tie the score 41-41 with 11:05 remaining.

“Our defense was the spark in the second half,” coach Mike Jacobsma said. “But it wasn’t enough. Our players were spent.”

Luther took command with an 8-0 burst, going up 53-45, and knocked down five-of-eight free throws in the last 90 seconds to secure the win.

“Luther did a good job handling our pressure and they made the free throws the put the game away,” Jacobsma said. “It’s frustrating. We had chances to pull ahead and get the lead but we didn’t execute well enough.”

Central (6-17 overall, 1-13 conference) shot a chilly 30.6 percent from the floor and connected on just three-of-24 from 3-point range. The Norse (6-17 overall, 3-11 conference) hit 37.5 percent, 48.1 in the opening 20 minutes, and drained six-of 11 3-pointers. The Dutch held a 46-38 rebounding advantage.

“It’s a tale of two halves,” Jacobsma said. “When you only play 20 minutes in the Iowa Conference this is going to be the end result.”

Junior guard Alyssa Schwartz (Titonka, WCLT HS) led the Dutch with 12 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Sarah Paulson (Ottumwa) had nine points and eight rebounds.

Central returns home for its last two games of the regular season. The Dutch face Simpson College at 6 p.m. Wednesday before meeting Wartburg College next Saturday. Simpson is 18-5 overall and 11-3 in the league.

“We have two games left and we’re going to throw everything we’ve got at Simpson and Wartburg,” Jacobsma said. “We’re playing the role of spoilers. We’re the underdogs. And it’s about us getting better as a team and as a program and finishing these games strong.”

Central will host its “Pink Out” night Wednesday to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Central College