Perfect free throw shooting helps Storm top Nebraska Wesleyan

Megan Lankford went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final seconds of Simpson's win over Neb. Wesleyan.
Megan Lankford went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final seconds of Simpson's win over Neb. Wesleyan.

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Allyson Simpson made the go-ahead 3-pointer, Megan Lankford went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final seconds and the Simpson women's basketball team beat Nebraska Wesleyan 65-62 on Wednesday for its first conference win.

Britney Boland scored 15 points, Ellen Gallagher had 12 and 11 rebounds and Lankford scored nine of her 11 in the second half as the Storm (4-8, 1-2 Iowa Conference) avoided the first 0-3 start to league play in program history.

Lankford went 8-for-8 from the line on the night, helping the Storm tie a school record by going 18-for-18 on the game. Lankford made her last six free throws in the final 31 seconds to hold off the Prairie Wolves (6-5, 0-3).

Simpson led most of the second half but trailed by three before Lankford knocked down a 3 from the top of the key -- her first field goal of the game -- with 4:48 to play. A jumper by Kate Schulte gave Wesleyan a 58-56 lead, but Simpson responded by hitting a 3 to beat the shot clock with 2:25 left and the Storm led the rest of the way.

Morgan Nishida had a chance to tie the game with 19 seconds left, but missed the free throw on an and-one attempt and Lankford took care of the rest.

Caitlin Navratil scored a game-high 24 points for Nebraska Wesleyan, getting 20 in the second half.

Simpson trailed by nine in the first half but out-scored Nebraska Wesleyan 30-10 in the final 12:38 before halftime. Boland went 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the second quarter alone and Kali Rasmussen got a friendly bounce from the corner on a 3 as time expired in the first quarter. Maddie Simmons made a pair of 3s in the second quarter to give the Storm seven in the half.

Simpson led 37-26 at halftime but Navratil scored seven points as part of a 9-0 run to start the third quarter, getting the Prairie Wolves back into the game.

Leading scorer Noreen Morrow was held in check with double and triple teams, but Gallagher picked up the slack with her first career double-double. The junior went 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

The last time a Simpson team was perfect from the free throw line on 10-or-more attempts was Jan. 21, 2010 when the Storm went 18-for-18 against Dubuque.

UP NEXT
Simpson travels to Loras on Saturday. The Duhawks (6-7, 0-4) lost to No. 9 Wartburg 73-55 on Wednesday.

Dubuque comeback stuns Storm
February 8, 2017 Dubuque comeback stuns Storm