Morningside’s women’s basketball team rolled to a 77-62 victory against Briar Cliff in the GPAC Semifinals. Photo / Gene Knudsen
No. 1-ranked Morningside cruised to a 77-62 victory against city rival Briar Cliff in Saturday’s GPAC Women’s Basketball Post-Season Tournament semifinal round contest in the Rosen Verdoorn Sports Center.
The Mustangs remained undefeated at 32-0 and extended their school-record home court winning streak to 39 games. The Mustangs will try to push the streak to 40 when they host third-ranked Concordia in the GPAC title game on Tuesday. Concordia raised its record to 30-2 with a 67-60 triumph against No. 12 Hastings in Saturday’s other semifinal. Both of the Bulldogs’ losses this season came against Morningside.
Saturday’s triumph was another chapter in Morningside’s domination of Briar Cliff during the Jamie Sale coaching era. The Mustangs defeated Briar Cliff for the ninth time in a row and improved their record to 27-2 against the Chargers since Sale took over the Mustangs’ head post.
The Mustangs were never seriously challenged against the 19th-ranked Chargers after the first 10 minutes of the contest. Morningside led by just an 18-16 margin midway through the first half before it took off on a 26-10 scoring run to close out the first half and take a commanding 44-26 advantage into the intermission.
Morningside led by at least 16 points throughout the second half and led by as many as 24 points on three occasions, the last time at 75-51 with 3:22 left in the game.
Taylor Bahensky scored a game-high 17 points for the winners, followed by Madison Braun, who broke out of a shooting slump with four 3-point field goals in seven attempts en route to 14 tallies. Fellow starter Ashlynn Muhl joined them in double figures with 13 points, while Mandy Osborne contributed 10 points off the bench. Mallorie Moore also made a significant contribution off the bench with a season’s high seven points.
Kaylee Blake and Slone Masters each scored 13 points for Briar Cliff, which shot just 33.8 percent for the game. Lexi Henschke joined them in double figures with 11 points.
Morningside’s Jessica Tietz came off the bench to grab a game-high eight rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 41-39 rebounding advantage for the Chargers. Emily Kay and Kate Schulte each had six rebounds for Briar Cliff.
Morningside’s Lexi Ackerman and Briar Cliff’s Chante Williams each dealt seven assists to share game honors, while Muhl led all performers with three steals.