Second half comeback falls short, Storm lose to No. 9 Wartburg

Second half comeback falls short, Storm lose to No. 9 Wartburg

INDIANOLA, Iowa — The Simpson women's basketball team nearly erased a double-digit deficit, but Katie Sommer and ninth-ranked Wartburg held off the comeback to remain unbeaten with a 76-60 win Saturday.

Simpson trailed by as many 19 points in the third quarter but pulled within five before Wartburg responded with a 9-0 run, pulling away down the stretch. 

Noreen Morrow posted a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double, Allyson Simpson came off the bench to score a team-high 14 points and Janey Botkins added 12 for the Storm (1-5, 0-1 Iowa Conference), who suffered their fifth loss in a row.

Sommer scored 11 of her game-high 26 points from the free throw line, adding six assists for the Knights (6-0, 2-0). Miranda Murphy added 21 points for the Iowa Conference preseason favorites. 

A Sommer 3 gave Wartburg a 59-42 lead late in the third quarter before Botkins and Ellen Gallagher hit 3s to close the quarter. The Storm opened the fourth on a 7-1 run, getting a pair of layups from Morrow. Simpson made one of her three 3-pointers to cut Wartburg's lead to 60-55 with 7:48 to play.

The Knights responded with a run of their own. A layup by Murphy slowed Simpson's momentum as Wartburg mounted a 9-0 run, effectively taking the wind out of the Storm's sails.

Simpson got 3s from Botkins and Britney Boland to take an early 8-6 lead. A layup by Murphy gave Wartburg a 10-8 lead, part of a 9-0 run that gave the Knights the lead for good.

The Storm play their final conference game of 2016 when they travel to Luther on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The Norse (4-3, 2-0) beat Coe 73-70 in overtime on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in Decorah.

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