MONMOUTH, ILL. The Monmouth College women's basketball team used a big first half to knock off rival Knox 57-48 on Friday in the semifinals of the Midwest Conference Tournament. The 14-9 Scots will play in the MWC Championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday against either host Ripon or Illinois College.
The Scots fell behind 2-0 on the first possession of the game before Josie Morgan (Washington, Illinois) tied the game with a runner. Jordan Kintigh (Goshen, Indiana) gave the Scots their first lead of the day with a jumper and the Scots still led 4-2 with 4:00 to go in the first quarter. Kintigh scored again for a 6-2 lead and Knox turned the ball over.
Up 6-4 the Scots added on when Lily Harlan (Washington, Illinois) knocked down a 3-pointer. After a blocked shot by Kintigh, the teams traded missed shots. Harlan split free throws to give the Scots a 10-4 lead and Knox missed a jumper on their final possession of the quarter.
Kintigh scored the first bucket of the second quarter for a 12-4 Scots lead.With 8:32 to go in the half, Tarae Warner (Burlington, Iowa) put the Scots up 13-4 as she split free throws and Morgan made a pair of free throws to put the Scots up 11. Harlan scored and Morgan buried a 3-pointer for a 20-4 lead.
The Prairie Fire went almost eight minutes without a point as the Scots had a 14-0 run for their 16-point lead. After Knox got a 3-point play, the Scots got a bucket from Kaitlyn Osmulski (Peoria, Illinois). Knox made a pair of free throws and Zoie Wall (Peoria, Illinois) knocked down a 3-pointer for a 25-11 Scots lead. Wall made two free throws to push the lead back to 16. Knox made a free throw and Monmouth led 27-12 at halftime.
Knox went on a 5-0 run to start the second half and eventually got to within six before Morgan hit a 3-pointer. Knox scored on the next three possessions as the Scots went cold and the lead was cut to 30-27 with 4:30 to play in the quarter. Osmulski scored for a 32-28 lead and free throws gave the Scots a 34-30 lead.
Monmouth ended the quarter on an 8-0 run. Morgan made two free throws and a layup before Osmulski's jumper with three seconds left gave the Scots a 40-32 lead.
Osmulski started the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and the Scots again led by double digits. Kintigh scored in the paint for a 45-32 lead and Morgan's jumper made it 47-32. Knox got the lead down to six with 1:41 to play. Knox committed three fouls to get into the bonus and Morgan made 7-of-8 from the line in the final 50 seconds of action. Knox scored twice but the Scots won 57-48.
Morgan led the Scots with 23 points while Kintigh had a 10-point, 11-rebound double double. Morgan also had three assists and three steals in the game. Osmulski finished with nine points, as did Harlan.
The Scots are now 10-5 in their Midwest Conference tournament history and they had never before faced Knox in tournament action. The Scots are 2-1 against Ripon in the MWC tournament and 0-0 against Illinois College. The Scots beat Ripon in Weiske Gym to win the 2020 MWC title and lost to the Red Hawks in the 2019 finals.