St. Norbert Pulls Away Late and Vaults Into NCAA Tournament

From Sports Information Director, March 1, 2014 | Women's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

DE PERE - St. Norbert College held Monmouth College to two points in the final 6 minutes 8 seconds of the game and claimed the championship of the Midwest Conference Tournament with a 69-60 win on Connie Tilley Court at Schuldes Sports Center.

The Green Knights (21-4) earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament, their 11th appearance in school history. The tournament field will be announced at 1:30 p.m. CST Monday. Monmouth saw its season end 19-6.

St. Norbert held a tenuous 59-58 lead after Monmouth's Marla Willard converted a layup with 6:08 to go. The Green Knights inched ahead 61-58 on a pair of Tasha Giese free throws with 5:20 left. Neither team scored again until Morgan Heim canned a clutch 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:47 to go for a 64-58 edge.

Monmouth answered 17 seconds later on a jumper by Kim Coleman, but the Green Knights answered again with a 3-pointer by Jill Kleiman with 1:31 to go to lead 67-60. St. Norbert got two stops and sealed the win with a pair of Kleiman free throws with 27 seconds left.

St. Norbert held a 16-point lead early in the second half, leading 50-34 with 18:09 remaining on a Brianna Byrne layup. The Green Knights went cold immediately thereafter, with Monmouth coming all the way back following a 22-5 run to take a 56-55 lead with 9:04 to go. That was the Scots' only lead, with a pair of free throws by Kleiman putting the Green Knights ahead to stay with 7:25 left.

Byrne led St. Norbert with 16 points, while Kleiman added 13 points and Heidi Van Sistine had 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Green Knights shot 42.0 percent (21-for-50) from the floor but outrebounded the Scots 40-28. St. Norbert also shot a lusty 22-for-23 (95.7 percent) at the free-throw line.

Kaley Corban led Monmouth with 17 points, while Willard added 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Scots shot 38.3 percent (23-for-60) from the floor.