Simpson women win big on Senior Night

Photo by Austin Hronich

Photo by Austin Hronich

by Noah Sacco, Staff Reporter

For the 91st time in series history, the women’s basketball team clashed with Central on Senior Night Wednesday. The Storm won 92-71, notching the team’s 36th consecutive win over the rival Dutch.

Despite the Storm’s dominant 92-71 victory, rivalries were set aside as three players were given a standing ovation. Rachel Freland, Kali Rasmussen, and Madi Paulson were honored for their basketball careers following their final home game in a Simpson uniform.

Among the seniors, Freland has proven to be a staple in the women’s basketball program. The starting forward from Prairie City, Iowa racked up 11 points against Central while adding two rebounds and three steals to her tally. In her three-year career, Freland has appeared in 66 games, scoring 351 points and grabbing 120 steals.

“It was a humbling experience to know how much I’ve meant to everyone here, especially to my teammates and my coaches,” Freland said.

Despite the Storm shooting 48 percent from the field and 86 percent from the free-throw line, the men in striped shirts seemed to create the largest reactions from players and fans, following a second quarter that saw an unusual amount of fouls called.

A trio of 3-pointers from Freland and junior forward Cassie Chubb soon extended the Storm’s lead late in the third quarter, prompting Rasmussen to get some minutes on the court. The senior guard from Irwin, Iowa has continued to be a threat from behind the arc, scoring 96 percent of her 141 points from deep in her four years at Simpson.

“We’re a family and we do everything together,” Rasmussen said. “Our coach has taught us to be great leaders and great people on and off the basketball court.”

Simpson head coach Brian Niemuth shares the same praise for the four-year letterwinner who has made the most of her Storm basketball career.

“Kali has done a great job by showing her leadership through example. She has really helped us get this program to where I wanted it to be,” Niemuth said.

As the fourth quarter began to die down, Coach Niemuth looked over across his bench and called upon Madi Paulson to enter the game for the final minute of play.

Paulson had not seen much action on the court as it is was only her second game on the varsity squad. Yet, the senior from Council Bluffs, Iowa almost finished a breakaway layup had it not been for the final buzzer sounding a second too early.

Following the game, Freland, Rasmussen, and Poulson were given a bursting bouquet of roses along with a box filled with thank-you frames and other gifts wishing them farewell. Both Dutch and Storm fans rose to their feet as the seniors were given a final goodbye from Cowles Fieldhouse.

“It’s kind of a scary and sad feeling altogether, but it’s been so much fun these last three years. I’ve had a great time at Simpson and I know I won’t forget it,” Freland said.

The Storm will face Coe in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Feb. 17 to cap off their regular season before heading into the first round of the American Rivers Conference tournament on Tuesday.