For 33 minutes, the Marshalltown Community College women's basketball team played right with Northeast CC at the Student Activity Center.
It was the final 7 minutes that has MCC coach Alison Lacey wondering what could have been.
Leading 55-50, Northeast scored 19 of the final 26 points and walked away with a 74-57 road win in NJCAA action Saturday night.
T-R PHOTO BY TROY HYDE
MCC sophomore Shantal Tolbler scored 11 of her 12 points in the second half against Northeast Community College on Saturday night. The Tigers trailed by five with 6 minutes to play but lost 74-57.
"I think we played well for about 30-35 minutes," Lacey said. "We have shown we can play with good teams for 10-, 20- and 30-minutes, but we can't put together a 40-minute effort yet."
The Tigers trailed by four at the break and played point-for-point with the Hawks until the final seven minutes. The lack of depth for the Tigers may have caught up to them as they appeared to run out of gas as the clock wound down.
"We got tired, I think that's true," Lacey said. "But we also let things affect us that we have no control over. We need to do a better job of getting past stuff that goes wrong and just play."
Northeast CC 74,
Marshalltown CC 57
NECC (15-2)-Johnson 8-18 4-5 22, Murray 4-7 0-0 10, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, Spencer 5-10 3-3 13, Vuletic 3-6 0-0 6, Gamble 3-8 2-3 8, Knowles 1-3 0-0 2, Murphy 3-8 2-2 11, Klostergaard 1-3 0-0 2, Pieper 0-2 0-0 0, Novokreshchenova 0-1 0-0 0. TOTALS 28-66 11-13 74.
MCC (4-10)-Salgado 2-11 2-2 6, Tobler 4-12 4-6 13, Van Metre 6-14 2-3 15, Gott 3-7 2-4 8, McMullen 2-6 3-5 7, Hansen 0-3 0-0 0, Henio 1-3 0-0 3, Slade 1-3 3-4 5. TOTALS 19-59 16-24 57.
Halftime-NECC, 31-27. 3-Point Goals-NECC 7-21 (Murphy 3-7, Murray 2-4, Johnson 2-6, Pieper 0-2, Klostergaard 0-1, Novokreshchenova 0-1), MCC 3-15 (Henio 1-3, Tobler 1-3, Van Metre 1-6, Salgado 0-1, Hansen 0-2). Rebounds-NECC 44 (Klostergaard 7), MCC 36 (Gott 9). Assists-NECC 10 (Johnson 4), MCC 5 (Salgado 2, Tobler 2). Total fouls-NECC 16, MCC 16. Fouled out-MCC: Tobler.
Lacey is referring to two straight possessions in the second half. Both possessions came with the Tigers trailing by five and each resulted in missed layups.
"Those are big possessions," the first-year MCC coach said. "Those were huge plays. If we convert those then it's a completely different game."
The Tigers shot just 32 percent in the game and got out-rebounded 44-36. They also turned it over 18 times and hit just 3-of-15 from long range.
A big part of the low shooting percentage and disadvantage on the glass was because Tiger post Latrice McMullen was hampered by foul trouble. She picked up her third foul with 1:50 to play in the first half and then got her fourth on the first defensive possession of the second stanza. She remained on the bench until the 7-minute mark but couldn't get back into a flow.
"We have to play smaller when she is not out there," Lacey said. "They went to a zone and that helps us play more of a guard-oriented style, but we have to shoot the ball better."
There were four lead changes in the first half and neither squad led by more than six points. Northeast's largest lead was the four it led by at the break. The Tigers led by one late in the half but went into a scoring drought in the final three minutes and the Hawks rolled off five straight to grab an advantage.
In the second half, MCC (4-10) struggled to contain Andrea Johnson, who scored 17 of her 22 points in the final 20 minutes. She buried her first 3 of the half to give the Hawks (15-2) an eight-point cushion and then kept the lead at seven with buckets on two straight possessions.
While Johnson was keeping Northeast in front, MCC sophomore Shantal Tobler was keeping the game close for the Tigers.
She scored 12 of her 13 points in the final half and kept the game within reach with an assortment of offensive moves, including several hard drives to the bucket.
"She has been giving us great energy since coming back from break," Lacey said. "She wants to win and is hungry to help turn it around."
The Hawks went up 11 following an bucket inside the paint by Jaylan Spencer, but MCC rolled off six straight - drives by Tobler and Mady Van Metre and free throws by Ashley Salgado - but another bucket by Spencer pushed it back to seven and that is as close as the Tigers would get the rest of the way.
"We are a ton better today than we were after game one," Lacey said. "It sucks to lose, but we're getting better. You want to peak at the end and we have made steady improvements each game."
Van Metre led the Tigers with 15 points, while Tobler also had seven rebounds to go along with her 13 points. Mackenzie Gott added eight points and nine boards in the loss, while Salgado added six points and seven rebounds.
Johnson had four assists and three boards to go with her 22 points, while Spencer scored 13 and had six boards. Lexi Murphy and Raveen Murray also finished in double-figures with 11 and 10, respectively.
The Hawks shot 42 percent from the floor but turned it over 19 times.
Saturday's game was a non-conference game because Northeast is Division I and MCC is Division 2. ... A coach from Mount Mercy College was speaking with McMullen after the game. McMullen finished with seven points despite the four fouls. ... MCC will next play on the road against the William Penn JV on Monday but then returns for three straight home games. "We have a chance to win some games coming up and it will be nice to have most of those at home," Lacey said.