CHICAGO -- While No. 18 Wisconsin-Eau Claire led by 12 points with four minutes left in the game, a late push by Simpson made for a more dramatic ending. The Blugold, howerver,  held on to beat the Storm 69-61 on Friday in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament.

Eau Claire led most of the evening and found itself with a 12-point lead (63-51) with only four minutes remaining in the game. But the Blugolds' lead quickly evaporated as the Storm went on a 9-0 run with three 3-pointers to cut the Blugolds' advantage to just three points (63-60) with two minutes left on the clock.

Over the final two minutes, the Blugolds regained their composure and outscored Simpson 6-1 the rest of the way. Eau Claire scored its final six points at the free throw line, where Leah Rempert went 5-6 in the final 30 seconds to give the Blugolds some cushion.

Ellen Plendl led the Blugolds as she recorded her 16th double-double of the season, with a game-high 21 points and 15 rebounds, which helped the Blugolds outrebound Simpson 51-40 on the night. Plendl also finished with a game-high six blocks.

Callie Halama finished with 19 points and Nicole Christianson led the game with nine assists.

For Simpson, Chelsie Rohrs led with 13 points while Stacey Schutjer secured a double-double with 11 rebounds and 10 points. She also blocked five shots and had three assists.