Simpson women’s basketball: Let’s go dancing


Caleb Geer

Cassie Nash fights for the ball against No. 18 Wartburg in the ARC Conference Tournament Championship.

by Morgan Flynn, Sports Editor

The No. 5/6 Storm women’s basketball team was off to a slow start but managed to come out on top 62-59 against the Wartburg Knights during the American Rivers Conference Championship game to earn an automatic bid to the 64-team NCAA DIII Women’s Basketball Championship.

The low-scoring game included nine lead changes, with the largest lead being six points and four ties.

No. 18 Wartburg Knights were prepared to meet the Storm after Simpson won both regular-season matchups between the teams by final scores of 90-74 and 78-73. They had their eye on one player, particularly sixth-year senior Jenna Taylor. 

Taylor, who is second in the conference in scoring with an average of 20.1 points per game, was held to six points and four rebounds. 

“I was kind of ready for that,” Taylor said. “Warburg usually kind of throws that stuff on me and it’s happened for six years now. So, I was ready for that and I just tried to focus on rebounding and defense and doing other things that I can do to contribute.”

Senior Cameron Kincaid led the Storm with 26 points in addition to 11 rebounds, tying her season and career-high of 26 points.

“They were double teaming Jenna and leaving me a little bit more open,” Kincaid said. “I knew that I was gonna have to step up, hit some shots and drive in there and get to the free throw line like I always do.” 

Nine of Kincaid’s points came at the free-throw line. 

“I honestly get up to the line and everything kind of goes away, it’s just me and the hoop,” Kincaid said. “So I know that it’s just a simple shot and I’ve done it forever. So no pressure. Just put it in the hoop.” 

With the Storm only shooting 46.9% from the field and 23.1% from the 3-point arc, they too had to bring tough defense. They forced 22 Wartburg turnovers resulting in 23 points.  

Going into the 4th quarter, the Storm were down 48-46, but after a layup by Anna Wanek, the game was tied, and Simpson kept pushing. They went on a 6-0 scoring run before Wartburg’s Maggie Wilkins hit a 3-pointer. Wartburg didn’t let off the gas, but Kincaid sealed the game, making two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to make it 62-59.

The automatic bid marks the Storm’s 14th NCAA tournament appearance. The Storm last made the tournament in the 2012-2013 season with a Sweet 16 finish.  

“I think we’re excited for Monday for the selection show to see who we play,” Assistant Coach Moran Lonning said. “But from there, I think there’s a new excitement that we’re playing teams that haven’t played us three times. How fun is that?” 

The Storm will meet Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Champions, Gustavus Adolphus, in the first round in Cowles Fieldhouse. These teams met during the first home game of the season back in November where Simpson won 85-61. The first game will be played later this week with a date and time to be determined.

The team enters the tournament with a 25-1 record with their only loss to Division I Drake University. They are currently ranked 5th in the nation by and lead multiple statistical categories in all of DIII basketball. 

Simpson in the National DIII Rankings as of Feb. 25:

1st – Field goal percentage (49.2)

1st – Three-point percentage (38.8)

1st – Free throw percentage (81.0)

1st – Total assists (542)

1st – Assists per game (21.7)

1st – Assist-to-turnover ratio (1.50)

Individuals in the National DIII Rankings as of Feb. 25:

1st – Kia Rasmussen, assist-to-turnover ratio (4.84)

1st – Kia Rasmussen, three-point percentage (50.0)

1st – Cameron Kincaid, free throw percentage (92.4)

4th – Jenna Taylor, three-point percentage (45.4)

5th – Cassie Nash, field goal percentage (59.8)

9th – Jenna Taylor, field goal percentage (57.9)

9th – Cassie Nash, total steals (84)

“I mean, we’ve always said, me and Jenna more specifically, talked about getting to the national tournament, cutting down the nets after a conference championship, and then getting to that next tournament and that next level,” Kincaid said. “We’re gonna go dancing and it’s gonna be really fun.”