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Storm take Saint Benedict to the wire, fall in final seconds

Claire Johnson
Claire Johnson

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Haylee Fingalsen came off the bench to score 12 points and made a pair of free throws with 3 seconds left as Saint Benedict held on to beat the Simpson women's basketball team 66-63 in the final game of the Simpson Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday.

Noreen Morrow scored 11 of her 18 points in the second half and Victoria Hazard added 15 to lead the Storm (3-2), who trailed by as many as 10 points before mounting a furious comeback to take a seven-point lead in the third quarter.

Tournament MVP Chelsey Guetter finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the Blazers (5-0), who won despite committing 32 turnovers. Fingalsen went 4-for-5 from the field and Niki Fokken had eight points and blocked four shots.

Morrow, Hazard and Ellen Gallagher were named to the All-Tournament team for the Storm. In addition to Guetter's MVP honor, Fokken earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Key Moments
Fokken scored the go-ahead layup after a Kate Banovetz steal with 5:38 to play in the fourth quarter as part of a 10-0 run that put Saint Benedict ahead for good. A steal by Fokken led to a layup by Guetter to complete the rally, giving the Blazers a 60-54 lead with 4:27 to play.

Simpson trailed 63-61 in the final 30 seconds when a deep trey by Botkins went in-and-out. Hazard pulled down the offensive rebound but couldn't convert two put-back tries in heavy traffic, the second of which was blocked by Banovetz.

A swarming defense helped the Storm get back into the game in the third quarter after trailing by eight early in the period. Simpson's zone attack forced 10 turnovers in the quarter, including a pair of 10-second violations. A short jumper by Claire Johnson sparked an 11-3 run late in the period that gave Simpson a 49-42 lead after Maddie Simmons' layin with 27 seconds left.

Key Players
Noreen Morrow — 18 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block
Victoria Hazard — 15 points, 2 rebounds, 7 steals
Janey Botkins — 7 points, 1 rebound
Ellen Gallagher — 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists

Up Next
The Storm open Iowa Conference play Wednesday, Nov. 29 against Buena Vista at Cowles Fieldhouse. The Beavers (3-3) beat Iowa Wesleyan 79-54 in Saturday's first game at the Thanksgiving Classic.

Game Notes
• Simpson and Saint Benedict were playing for just the third time, the first outside of the NCAA Tournament. The teams split meetings in the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05 and 2005-06. The Blazers won 80-63 in the first round of the 2005 tournament and the Storm won 73-70 in the first round of the 2006 tournament.
• Morrow finished four rebounds shy of her third-straight double-double. Her double-double in the win over Iowa Wesleyan gave her 17 for her career.
• After scoring five points combined against Grand View and Iowa Wesleyan, Hazard came back strong with a season-high 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
• Saint Benedict's 32 turnovers are the most by a Simpson opponent in more than three years. Mount Mary (Wis.) committed 44 turnovers against the Storm on Nov. 15, 2014.

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