Ripon Completes Comeback Against St. Norbert, Advances To MWC Tournament Championship Game

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RIPON, Wis. - Trailing by seven points to St. Norbert with five minutes remaining in Friday's Midwest Conference semifinal game, the Ripon College women's basketball team didn't panic, erasing that deficit by scoring the game's final 11 points, en route to a 44-40 victory. That win advances the top-seeded Red Hawks to Saturday's MWC Tournament Championship Game where they will battle number two seeded Monmouth College. It also gives Ripon their eighth consecutive victory, which is tied for fourth in program history, while also giving them their most victories since the 2009-10 season, which was the last time the team advanced to the MWC Tournament Championship Game.

Ripon (18-8) shot 42 percent (10-24) from the field in the first half, but committed 16 turnovers before halftime, which helped St. Norbert (11-15) hang around. After leading 14-12 after the first quarter, the Red Hawks fell behind by seven points with just under three minutes to play in the half, but they would score the final six points of the second quarter with a basket by Shannon Sorbo and a pair of buckets from Maggie Oimoen to go into halftime trailing 23-22.

St. Norbert began the second half on an 8-1 run to go up by seven once again mid-way through the third quarter, but Ripon scored the final five points of the quarter to cut the lead to 31-29 entering the final period. In that final frame, a jumper by Ripon freshman Skyylar Brescia tied the score at 31, but St. Norbert answered with a 9-2 run to take a 40-33 lead with just under five minutes to play. That would be the last points the Green Knights would score. Back-to-back baskets by seniors Oimoen and Laurissa Johnson cut the lead to three, before a Caitie Carpenterfree throw cut it to two. Oimoen would score on the next possession to tie the score at 40, while Carpenter followed with a layup to give Ripon the lead with two minutes remaining. Alyassa Burgess sealed the comeback victory, scoring on a layup with 25 seconds to play.

Oimoen led all players with 16 points and 10 rebounds (four offensive) for her 19th career double-double, which is tied for the second-most in program history. She is also now 30 points shy of Ripon's career scoring record, as she needs just three points to become the second player in program history to score 1,300 points. Johnson and Carpenter finished with five points apiece, while Sorbo tied a career-high with seven rebounds. 40 of Ripon's 44 points came in the paint, while the Red Hawks also scored 19 second-chance points thanks in large part to 13 offensive rebounds. That was part of a night that saw the Red Hawks out-rebound St. Norbert by a 46-19 margin.

The Green Knights were led by Macie Zurfluh's 14 points and four rebounds. Liz Edinger and Sarah Neumann were the only other St. Norbert players to score more than three points with nine and six points, respectively, off the bench. SNC was held to just 34 percent (18-53) shooting from the field, while also making just 13 percent (1-8) from the free throw line.

Ripon's MWC Tournament Championship tilt against Monmouth will begin at 3 p.m. from Willmore Center in Ripon, Wis., with the winner earning an automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division-III Tournament. That game can be seen live at