The Simpson College women’s basketball team achieved perfection in 2020-21.
The No. 7 Storm beat Coe College 89-84 in overtime to win the American Rivers Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday, March 13 at Cowles Fieldhouse. Simpson closed the season 12-0 to go down as the only unbeaten team in program history.
In a typical year, Simpson would have earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament. But NCAA officials cancelled the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making Saturday’s game the final contest of the season.
“It’s unfortunate this team won’t get the chance to compete in the NCAA Tournament, but I couldn’t be more proud of what they accomplished during an incredibly challenging season,” head coach Brian Niemuth said. “From day one, our players believed in each other and believed they could win a championship. I’ve never coached a team more deserving of a championship than this one.”
The conference title is the 13th in Simpson women’s basketball history and the first since 2013. Niemuth – in his 34th season as head coach – oversaw 12 of those championships.
“The feeling in indescribable,” senior forward Jenna Taylor said. “This is something we’ve worked for since the first day I stepped on campus. Coach Niemuth, [assistant] Coach [Moran] Lonning and all of the players have had their sights set on this moment. It’s unbelievable.”
Simpson trailed by five points after three quarters but opened the fourth on a 19-0 run, taking a 73-59 lead on a driving layup by sophomore guard Cassie Nash with just under 6 minutes left in the game. But Coe came all the way back to take a two-point lead with 2.9 seconds left. Senior forward Cameron Kincaid drew a foul on the ensuing possession, making two free throws with 0.5 seconds left to force overtime.
Kincaid made a layup and Taylor hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to begin overtime and Simpson made 4 of 5 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Nash scored a career-high 31 points to lead the Storm while Taylor added 23 points and 11 rebounds.
About Simpson College
Simpson College is a private, liberal arts college located in Iowa with campuses in Indianola, West Des Moines and online. Founded in 1860, the college has 1,268 undergraduate and graduate students. Simpson offers 74 majors, minors and programs in addition to three graduate programs. Outside of the classroom, Simpson is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.
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