INDIANOLA, Iowa - Victoria May's layup with 2:10 remaining gave Loras a 51-50 lead and prevented the Simpson women's basketball team from completing a double-figure comeback in a 55-54 win in the Iowa Conference opener for both teams on Wednesday night.
Simpson trailed by 11 at halftime but came out of the gates strong to start the second, outscoring Loras 17-2.
Brittany Hedrick scored 13 points to lead the Storm (5-7, 0-1), who lost their first conference opener sicne 1996. Markayla Mahr was a force defensively, tallying six blocks, the most by a Simpson player since 2010.
Lauren Byrne followed May's go-ahead layup with a jumper and the Duhawks (6-6, 1-0) held on down the stretch by electing to foul rather than give Simpson a chance at a game-tying 3.
May scored 14 and Katie Langmeier had 11 and eight rebounds to lead Loras.
After sputtering at the close of the first half, Simpson went to the 3-ball to mount its comeback. Morgan Mauro knocked down two treys and Whitney Van Wyk's second 3 of the game tied it at 30 early in the second.
Van Wyk hit another 3 to give Simpson a three-point edge and Hedrick's 3 gave Simpson a 42-37 lead with 7:27 left.
Simpson took a 48-42 lead on a jumper by Mahr with 5:03 left but couldn't contain May down the stretch. The 5-8 forward scored nine straight points - ending with the go-ahead layup - to give Loras a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Next up for the Storm is a trip to Cedar Rapids to face Coe on Saturday, Jan. 11. The Kohawks (6-6, 1-0) beat Buena Vista 74-61 on Wednesday.
Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.