DE PERE, Wis. – Cornell's quest for a second straight Midwest Conference Women's Basketball Tournament title ended abruptly Friday with an 88-80 semifinal loss to third-seeded Monmouth in Schuldes Sports Center.
The second-seeded Rams (20-4) were crowned MWC co-champions in the regular season and carried a 12-game winning streak into the tournament. Cornell's last defeat was back on Jan. 4 to the same Fighting Scots squad in Monmouth, Ill.
Cornell, a 2013 NCAA qualifier, now can only hope for an at-large berth to the national tournament. The NCAA Division III Selection Show is at 1:30 p.m. (Iowa time) on ncaa.com. The Rams entered the week ranked No. 8 in the Central Region.
Monmouth (19-5) advances to Saturday's MWC Championship to face the winner of Friday's second semifinal between No. 1 seed St. Norbert (19-4) and No. 4 seed Carroll (15-8).
The Fighting Scots, who lost to Cornell in last year's MWC Tournament Final, shot lights out from the foul line (32-of-36) and used a 9-0 run down the stretch to upend the Rams. The loss moved the Rams to 35-4 against conference foes since rejoining the MWC last season.
Cornell trailed 67-60 before charging back to tie it at 69-69 on a pair of Kellie Kuzmanic free throws with 4:06 remaining. Moments later, two Rikki Mulloy foul shots brought Cornell within 73-72 with 2:23 to go.
Monmouth ran off nine unanswered points to build an 82-72 with less than a minute to play. The Fighting Scots sank six straight free throws to close it out.
Mulloy – who hit 11-of-11 free throws – and Kuzmanic paced the Rams with 19 points apiece, while Diamond Boyd netted 11. Junior Taylor Dicus finished with nine points and a game-high 15 rebounds. The junior center fouled out with 2:08 remaining and the Rams down 75-72.
The Rams hung within 45-43 at intermission despite 15 first-half turnovers. Cornell finished the game with 23 turnovers, to Monmouth's 16. The Rams held a 45-38 advantage on the boards.
Cornell shot 37.1 percent from the field and hit 28-of-38 from the foul line. Monmouth shot 42.2 percent from the floor.
Jacquice led five Fighting Scots scorers in double figures with 19 points, behind 13-of-15 foul shooting.
|Monmouth College 19-5||45||43||88|
|Cornell College 20-4||43||37||80|
|Feb. 28, 2014|
|De Pere, Wis. (Schuldes Sports Center)|
|Monmouth College||Indv. Leaders||Cornell College|
|#14 Jacquice Cooper - 19||Points||2 Players (#15,#32) - 19|
|#10 Kaley Corban - 6||Rebounds||#40 Taylor Dicus - 15|
|#22 Marla Willard - 4||Assists||2 Players (#11,#32) - 3|
|Monmouth College||Team Statistics||Cornell College|
|42.2% (27 - 64)||Field Goals %||37.1% (23 - 62)|
|40% (2 - 5)||3 Point Field Goals %||24% (6 - 25)|
|88.9% (32 - 36)||Free Throws||73.7% (28 - 38)|
|16||2nd Chance Pts||19|
|Grinnell College at||5:30pm|
|Lawrence University at||5:30pm|
|Knox College at||1:00pm|