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MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The Lakeland College women's basketball team clinched a spot in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament on the final day of the regular season, defeating Milwaukee School of Engineering 63-39 Wednesday night.
The Muskies won their fourth straight game and improved to 10-8 in the NAC North Division (12-13 overall) to tie Edgewood College for fourth in the final division standings. Lakeland wins a tiebreaker over the Eagles for the fourth seed based on two wins over North Division runner-up Maranatha Baptist Bible College.
The Muskies will be the No. 8 seed in the tourney and now will face top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran College in the quarterfinals Saturday night at 7 p.m. The Warriors finished a perfect 17-0 in the NAC South Division and have been receiving votes just outside the top 25 in the NCAA Division III national polls. Wisconsin Lutheran defeated Lakeland 69-58 on Jan. 26 in Milwaukee in the two teams' only regular season meeting.
The Muskies received a challenge from MSOE (2-23 overall, 2-16 NAC) for 20 minutes before pulling away in the second half. Lakeland received big contributions from its bench, which combined for 39 of its 63 points and hit five three-pointers in the final 20 minutes.
Natalie Neitzel (Fr.-Theresa, Wis.) and Leah Eisner (Jr.-Stevens Point, Wis.) scored ten points each to lead the Muskies. Neitzel added six rebounds, three assists and four steals, tying for game honors in all three categories.
Trista Barron (Fr.-Escanaba, Mich.) added eight points and Paige Papineau (So.-Green Bay, Wis.) chipped in six points. Both hit a pair of three-pointers, part of nine triples made by Lakeland in 20 attempts.
The Muskies shot just 35.5% (22-of-62) and were out-rebounded 42-29. The Raiders committed a whopping 34 turnovers, though, and shot 37.1% (13-of-35).