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MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Lutheran College outscored Lakeland College 30-9 over the final ten minutes, blowing open a close game and ending the Muskies' season with a 65-40 loss in the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament quarterfinals Saturday night.
The No. 1 seed Warriors (23-2 overall) ended eighth-seeded Lakeland's upset bid and won their 15th straight game, advancing to the tourney semifinals against fourth seed Benedictine (Ill.) University, which defeated fifth-seeded Alverno College 53-42. The Muskies lost for the second time this season to the Warriors and finished the season 12-14.
Lakeland hung with the NAC's best team for 30 minutes and trailed just 35-31 when Trista Barron (Fr.-Escanaba, Mich.) hit a three-pointer with 10:06 left in the game. The Muskies were ultimately done in by 31.1% shooting, though, making just 14 of 45 field goal attempts. Lakeland also shot just 3-of-20 from three-point range, one of the team's poorest performances from behind the arc this season.
Barron's three capped a 7-0 run as the Muskies rallied from their largest deficit of the game at that point, 11 points on several occasions early in the second half. Wisconsin Lutheran responded with a lightning-quick run, though, to take firm control.
The Warriors scored on five consecutive possessions, with the run highlighted by Rachel Hoft hitting three consecutive three-pointers. At the same time, Lakeland went cold, missing eight consecutive shots. The Muskies went nearly seven minutes without a field goal, by which time WLC had built a 54-33 lead with less than 3 1/2 minutes to play.
Lakeland was able to stay close for much of the game as both teams struggled with cool shooting and turnovers through 30 minutes. The teams combined for 30 turnovers in the first half and neither shot better than 35% as Wisconsin Lutheran took a 24-18 lead into the break. Leah Eisner (Jr.-Stevens Point, Wis.) scored eight points in the first half but the rest of the team combined for just three field goals in the half.
Eisner led the team with 14 points and seven rebounds, while Becky Mayo (Sr.-Gladstone, Mich.) added eight points and seven rebounds and Barron chipped in seven points off the bench. Lakeland committed 26 turnovers in the game and was out-rebounded 39-27.
Hoft and Shavon Dillon led Wisconsin Lutheran with 13 points apiece. The Warriors finished shooting 15-of-29 (51.7%) in the second half and 43.6% for the game (24-of-55). WLC hit seven of 16 three-point tries, with four of the makes coming in the game's final ten minutes.
Second-seeded Concordia University Wisconsin topped No. 7 Rockford (Ill.) College 72-54 in NAC tourney play, and No. 3 seed Maranatha Baptist Bible College defeated sixth seed Concordia University Chicago 67-50. Both will meet Wednesday in the other semifinal game at Concordia (Wis.).