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Green Knights Rally Past Cornell to Earn 14th NCAA Tournament Berth

From Sports Information Director, February 25, 2017 | Women's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa - St. Norbert College rallied from a six-point deficit in the second half and survived a late Cornell College charge to claim a 59-54 win in the championship game of the Midwest Conference Tournament at Cornell's Multi-Sport Center.

The win clinched an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Tournament for the Green Knights, the 14th in school history. The NCAA will announce the tournament field Monday.

The win is St. Norbert women's basketball coach Connie Tilley won her 1,000th game as a collegiate coach in all sports 40 years at St. Norbert. Tilley is 672-291 in her 40th season as women's basketball coach. She also won a combined 328 games coaching volleyball from 1977-85 and softball from 1983-95 at St. Norbert.

St. Norbert trailed 36-30 early in the third quarter before closing the period on a 10-4 run to forge a 40-40 tie after 30 minutes.

The Green Knights (20-5) carried the momentum into the fourth quarter when Regan Carmichael buried a 3-pointer on their first possession of the period. The Green Knights would keep the lead, eventually building a 53-44 advantage with 2:44 left on a Brianna Byrne layup.

Cornell (20-5) would then rally, going on a 9-2 run to trail just 55-54 with 42 seconds left following a 3-pointer by Sierra Bisso. Following a sequence of timeouts, St. Norbert missed two shots but Mallory Nickerson grabbed the rebound and her putback with nine seconds left put the Green Knights ahead 57-54.

The Rams turned the ball over with four seconds left getting a steal from Carmichael, and Nickerson's two free throws with three seconds remaining salted away the win.

St. Norbert had four of its five starters reach double figures in scoring. Nickerson and Jelena Ostojic had 13 points apiece, while Byrne added 12 points and Carmichael 10. The Green Knights shot 43.9 percent (25-for-57) from the floor and had just 11 turnovers. St. Norbert also had a 31-30 rebounding advantage.

Cornell shot 37.2 percent from the floor, making 16 of 43 field-goal attempts. Bisso led the Rams with 12 points, while Haley Grana and Diamond Boyd had 11 points apiece.