Warriors Advance To Fourth Straight NACC Tourney Title Game

Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com
Photo Credit: Larry Radloff, d3photography.com

MILWAUKEE - The top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran College women's basketball team used a strong second half to hold off fourth-seeded Edgewood 72-55 in Tuesday night's NACC Tournament Semifinal at the Recreation Complex. The Warriors (23-3) extended their school-record winning streak to 22 games and advanced to their fourth straight NACC Tournament Final, where they will host third-seeded Alverno (19-8) Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Recreation Complex. Links to live audio, stats, and video will be available at wlcsports.com. 

The Eagles (15-12) came out seeking revenge in the semifinal matchup after WLC defeated Edgewood on Kristen Schulz's (Safford,Ariz./Arizona Lutheran) buzzer-beating layup just two weeks ago. Edgewood opened the game on a 7-0 run, and held the Warriors to just two points in the opening five minutes of the game. The Warriors' first field goal came from Schulz with 14:31 left in the half and WLC later used an 8-0 run to grab a 24-21 lead with 4:57 remaining in the half. Edgewood wrestled the lead back with a 6-0 run and held a 35-32 lead at the break.

Wisconsin Lutheran totaled eight turnovers in the opening half, leading to 13 Eagles' points. The Warriors also were held to just 40.7 percent shooting in the half. Schulz led the Warriors with 10 points and eight rebounds, Brittanny Bahr (Racine, Wis./Shoreland Lutheran) provided a spark off the bench with seven points, and Melissa Klemm (Germantown, Wis./Germantown) added seven points and four assists in the half.

The second half started the same as the first half ended, with baskets and leads being traded between the two teams in a game that featured six ties and 11 lead changes. With 11:14 remaining in the game, Rachel Hoft (Germantown, Wis./Germantown) nailed a three-pointer off of an assist from Klemm to hand the Warriors a 48-47 lead they would not relinquish. Klemm nailed a triple with 4:03 left that proved to be the dagger, putting the Warriors up 61-52 and forcing Edgewood to foul the rest of the game. WLC pressured Edgewood into just 24.1 percent shooting (7-of-29) in the second half while connecting on 56.5 percent (13-of-23) of its attempts.

Schulz recorded game highs with 19 points and 16 rebounds for her 20th double-double of the season. Klemm contributed 16 points -- shooting 3-of-6 from beyond the arc -- and added a game-high five assists. Kelli Johnson (Milwaukee, Wis./Wisconsin Lutheran) chipped in with 10 points off the bench and Bahr finished with nine points and a game-high five steals, recording all five of them in the second half.  

Dareon Henderson led the Eagles in scoring with 14 points, while Brooke McBain and Rachel Pope tallied nine apiece. 

The Warriors out-rebounded the Eagles 42-26, helping them to an 11-3 advantage in second-chance points. WLC also controlled points in the paint, 36-24.