Women’s basketball punches ticket into IIAC Tourney with win over Buena Vista


by Brock Borgeson, sports editor

After Whitney Van Wyk’s 3-pointer gave Simpson College women’s basketball the 5-3 advantage at the 19:13 mark, the Storm never relinquished their lead, winning 77-53 over Buena Vista University to clinch a birth in the IIAC Tournament.

“We are all really excited about clinching a spot in the tournament,” junior guard Whitney Van Wyk said. “We expect nothing less than winning it all but we know it’s going to take three of our best efforts that we’ve had yet.”

Back to the game in Storm Lake, three players scored in double-figures for Simpson (16-7, 6-6) as the Storm jumped out to a 45-23 lead over the Beavers at the half.

16 different players ended up receiving minutes for Simpson, 13 of them scoring, as the Storm went to the bench often in the second half, staving off Buena Vista for the 24-point win.

Van Wyk scored 11, had six steals, assisted on four and reeled-in eight rebounds as MacKenzie Haupt matched her with 11 points. Maddie Bosworth came off the bench and provided 10 points as well on 5-7 shooting.

For only the second time this season, Simpson outrebounded their opponent, winning the rebounding battle 37-31 over Buena Vista (8-15, 3-9).

With the win, Simpson clinches a birth in the IIAC Tournament. Their seed is not decided though, and with two games remaining, the Storm can improve to as high as fourth.

Going into Wednesday night’s game with Coe College, Simpson sat in fifth, one game ahead of Wartburg and two games behind Loras, who’s 8-6 in IIAC play.

“Now we just need to win these last two conference games to get ready to do some damage once the tournament starts,” junior guard MacKenzie Haupt said.

The Storm women’s team has never not made the IIAC Tournament under head coach Brian Niemuth.

After finishing fourth in the conference last season, the Storm look to get back to their dominant ways in the conference, as they won six IIAC Tournament championships between the 2004-05’ season and 2013-14’.

The final spot in the IIAC Tournament will be battled out between Wartburg College and Buena Vista, although the Knights hold the upper hand, being two games ahead of the Beavers.

Despite being fifth in the conference, Simpson is ironically second in the conference in total wins with 16 only behind first place Luther, who has 19.

And encouraging for the Storm, they took down the Norse earlier this season.

Right now there is a grid-lock at the top of the conference as only one game separates the top four teams, Luther College (1st), Dubuque University, Coe College and Loras College (4th).

With this, it’s up for grabs once the IIAC Tournament starts, leading Niemuth to believe there isn’t one team he’d rather face.

“I was talking to some other IIAC school coaches, and truly anyone from one through six could win the tournament because the games are all so close,” Niemuth said. “It’s just about who gets on the hot streak. After getting into the tournament, anything can happen. It’s been a crazy year.”

If the season were to end today, Simpson would be slated to face fourth place Loras College in Dubuque on Feb. 24. The Storm lost 65-53 to the Duhawks on Jan. 14, although the Storm could very likely be facing another IIAC foe come the 24th.