PELLA, Iowa - Simpson trailed last-place Central 27-26 at the half, but 17 points from Mackenzie Haupt and a 41-4 advantage in bench points ignited the Storm in the second half, helping Simpson (11-7, 4-3) stave off the Dutch (4-14, 1-6) 65-54 on Wednesday night.
Simpson trailed 13-7 after the first quarter and didn't take its first lead of the game until a Haupt layup put Simpson up 21-20 with 3:01 left in the second quarter.
Simpson hung blow for blow with the Dutch throughout the third, trailing only 38-37 with 2:06 to go in the third quarter. Haupt sank two free throws, giving Simpson a 39-38 lead, propelling the Storm to a 10-0 run to close out the third with a 47-38 lead.
Ashley Dalsing factored heavily in the game-changing run, draining consecutive 3-pointers to give Simpson the first breathing room it had felt all game.
Central cut its deficit to 54-50 on an Alison Malaby layup with 4:02 left in the game, although Simpson went 11 of 14 from the free throw line, forcing five turnovers in the final four minutes to close out the game.
Simpson shot only 34.5 percent (20-of-58) but went 18-of-25 from the line while scoring 19 points off turnovers thanks to 11 steals. Haupt had four of those steals, adding to a an efficient 6-for-13 night from the floor.
Morgan Mauro went just 1-for-7 with one 3-pointer, but her only field goal put her alone at No. 3 all-time in Simpson school history with 154 3-pointers.
Jackie Kriegel had 11 points and six rebounds to lead Central, followed by Claire Marburger who scored 10 and reeled in nine rebounds in the loss.
Up next: Simpson travels to face the Dubuque Spartans for the second time this season when it tips off at 2 p.m. from the Stoltz Sports Center in Dubuque on Saturday, Jan. 30.