IOWA FALLS - Late-game lapses and mental miscues used to define the Marshalltown Community College women's basketball team.
Now the Tigers are working from a different script.
Rallying behind a stout second half defensive effort and a spark from Shakeria Slade (12 points, 8 rebounds) off the bench, the MCC women's basketball team held off Ellsworth for a 54-49 victory in an Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Division II game Thursday at Martin Ellsworth Dittmer Gymnasium.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
MCC’s Shakeria Slade shoots over Ellsworth’s Brooke Heusinkveld in the Tigers’ 54-49 win over the Panthers in Iowa Falls Thursday. Replacing Latrice McMullen who left the game with an injury, Slade turned in a season-best 12 points and eight rebounds as the Tigers picked up their third win in four games.
Slade hit the go-ahead jumper with 1:10 to play after Ellsworth's Celine Jolicouer knotted the score at 49. Shantal Tobler made two free throws and Ashley Salgado added another while the Tigers' defense forced a couple Panther turnovers to preserve MCC's third win in its last four outings.
"We've really improved in not being so frazzled at the end of games," MCC coach Alison Lacey said. "We kept our heads and were a lot more composed. This is a tough place to play."
The Tigers (8-12, 3-5) had their composure tested early as Latrice McMullen left the game less than five minutes in with a left knee injury and didn't return. Slade settled in quickly with two quick buckets and later gave MCC a 36-35 edge - its first lead since the opening minute - on a jumper with 12:28 left in the second half. The basket capped an 8-0 run by the Tigers, who trailed 31-27 at intermission but took control by holding the Panthers without a field goal for more than 10 minutes.
Marshalltown CC 54, Ellsworth CC 49
MCC (8-12, 3-5) - Salgado 1 1-3 3, Tobler 3 4-7 10, Hansen 1 0-0 3, Van Metre 3 2-2 10 Lee 2 0-0 4, Gott 5 2-5 12, Slade 6 0-0 12, McMullen 0 0-0 0, Henio 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 9-17 54.
ELLSWORTH (9-13, 2-6) - Campbell 2 0-1 4, Lambert 2 0-0 5, Jolicoeur 8 3-4 23, Johnson 1 0-0 2, Steffeny 3 4-4 11, Mejia 0 0-0 0 , Olson 2 0-0 4, Heusinkveld 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 7-9 49.
Halftime-Ellsworth 31-27. 3-Point Goals-Ellsworth 6 (Jolicoeur 4, Steffeny, Lambert, Lambert), MCC 3 (Van Metre 2, Hansen).
Jolicoeur ended the drought with a steal and layup to give Ellsworth a 37-36 advantage though they never led again. Mady Van Metre nailed a trey to give MCC its largest lead at 41-37 and the Tigers maintained their slight edge until Jolicouer's final trey tied it with 1:55 to go.
After giving up several second-chance baskets in the opening stanza, the Tigers kept the Panthers to one-and-done throughout much of the second, with many of the shots coming from outside the paint. It was the second fewest points the Tigers have allowed this season and the sixth straight time they've held an opponent below 60.
"I was really happy how we came out defensively in the second half," said Lacey. "In the first half we didn't run our plan the way we wanted to, but in the second half we really locked in. The right people we wanted to shoot were shooting it and we did a good job of boxing out."
Following Slade's season-high scoring effort, Mackenzie Gott added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tobler and Van Metre tallied 10 points apiece.
Lacey was curious to see how her team would rebound from a 50-46 defeat to No. 15-ranked DMACC on the road Saturday and the Tigers more than answered the call.
"Shakeria stepped up and hit some shots that we don't normally see her shoot," Lacey said. "Mady and Mackenzie were solid as always and Ashley controlled the game well at the end. Overall, I think it was the best team effort we've had."
Jolicouer led all scorers with 23 points, while Brittney Steffeny - the third leading scorer in the league (14.6 ppg) - was limited to 11. The 49 point-output was nearly half of the Panthers' scoring from their last game as they were coming off a 97-94 double overtime defeat to NIACC last Saturday.
The Tigers host NIACC (12-9, 5-3), which received votes in the latest NJCAA poll, Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Student Activity Center.
McMullen's status was unknown following the game as she will have her knee evaluated today.