March 5, 2010

Courtesy of Simpson Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (March 5, 2010) - Simpson sophomore Ali Sokol (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale) started her birthday celebration a day early.

A day before her 20th birthday, the 6-0 forward came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points in leading Simpson to a 66-53 upset over No. 19 Chicago in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship Friday night at Shirk Center.

With starting center and leading scorer Stacey Schutjer (Titonka, Iowa/WCLT) on the bench for most of the first half due to foul trouble, Sokol came off the bench to score 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Sokol led a monstrous effort by the Simpson reserves, which outscored Chicago's 32-16.

The Storm (23-5) will play the winner of Friday's late game between No. 3 Illinois Wesleyan and Franklin Saturday at 7 p.m.

Despite playing only three minutes in the first half without scoring a point, Schutjer came on the second half to score 10 points and pull down six rebounds. Amy Hamilton (Ames, Iowa/Ames) also scored 10 points and Jeni Hegstrom (Perry, Iowa/Perry) added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.

Bryanne Halfhill led the Maroons (19-7) with 15 points. Micaela White added 11 and a game-high nine rebounds, as Chicago outrebounded the Storm 51-37, scoring 19 second-chance points on 17 offensive rebounds.

Leading 31-28 at halftime, Simpson used a 16-5 run in the first seven minutes of the first half in opening a 14-point lead, its largest of the game.

The Maroons refused to go away, however, scoring seven unanswered points to pull within four with 4:50 to play.

From there, Simpson put the game away at the free throw line, hitting 11 of 13 down the stretch. Hamilton knocked down a perfect 4-for-4 in the final minutes.

Saturday's game can be heard on 105.3 KEDB FM or online at Simpson students Quinn Albrecht and Zach James will have the call.