DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Give them chances and they'll take them - Callie Morrison and Rosa Torres both hit career-highs tonight as the fifth-ranked Sabercats took down eighth-ranked Emmaus Bible College in a thrilling road win.
Morrison went a perfect 13-13 from the charity stripe to hit 23 points while Torres poured in five shots from downtown to add 25 points of her own. It was the Sabercats' fifth straight win and it evened the season series with EBC.
- Result: #5 Maranatha 69-68 #8 Emmaus
- Venue: Pollard Fieldhouse, Emmaus Bible College
- Location: Dubuque, Iowa
- Attendance: 86
- Records: MBU (10-6), EBC (8-13)
This was a game of little by little, as the Sabercats had a hard night of work ahead of them.
The first quarter was closely contested, and it was sloppy from the start. Four turnovers in the very first minute seemed to herald a low-quality game of basketball, but the two teams began to finish their chances and the Sabercats finished the first quarter with a 15-14 lead. Morrison had five free throws and she drained every one of them.
The Eagles were looking to sweep the series, but the Sabercats fought the hosts' motivation as the first half matured. Torres began to heat up in the second quarter, as she went a perfect 3-3 from the floor, knocking down two three-pointers to give the Sabercats just a little bit of breathing room. Jacklyn Simpson helped the keep the ball in the Sabercats' hands, as the sophomore reeled in five rebounds and scored six points in the second quarter alone. Thanks to this balanced effort from the starting unit, the Sabercats had a five-point lead going into the locker room.
Torres added a couple more three-pointers in the third quarter and Morrison put up eight points to keep the Eagles at bay. The Sabercats had their hands full with restraining Emmaus, who landed four student-athletes in double digits on the night. But balanced as they were, the Eagles could not regain the lead for any significant time. When Torres connected her second shot from downtown, she had extended the Sabercats' lead to eight points, which they would hold going into the final quarter.
Emmaus had to press to salvage the game, and they effectively threw the Sabercats off their rhythm. The Blue and Gold dropped to shooting 3-11 from the floor, and as the Eagles got closer. the Sabercats had to rely on their free throw shooting to seal the deal.
With the pressure on, MBU went a perfect 10-10 from the line, and Morrison was responsible for six of those. Two more from Karley Johnson and two from Torres helped hold off the hard-charging Eagles, who were left frustrated at the Sabercats' aplomb from 15 feet away.
Coaches will tell you that the game can be won from the line. And after the Sabercats went 21-22 and Morrison went 13-13 from that location, the saying rings true after all.
MBU Starters: 3-Morrison, 12-Johnson, 13-Johnson, 23-Torres, 32-Simpson // EBC Starters: 1-Kimble, 21-Harding, 23-Kertulla, 25-Gelinas, 44-Williams
- Morrison: 23 points, beating her previous best by 4
- Morrison: now has double-digit points in every game except 2, where she scored 9 both times
- Torres: 25 points, beating her previous best by 12
- MBU: went 95.5 percent from the line - the second-best percentage in program history and the best since 1983.
- Morrison: 13-13 from the line: tying the program record for single-game free throw percentage and ranking 7th in total free throws made
- Last time: Emmaus took a 71-64 win home from the MBU campus
- Series: MBU leads the series 20-8
- The Eagles compete in the NCCAA DII and the Midwest Christian Colleges Conference
- Emmaus competes with the Sabercats for the NCCAA North Region
- EBC took home the regional title last year - it was their first title in program history and they beat MBU in the championship
- Emmaus holds an NCCAA record of 7-2 this season
The Sabercats will stay home for a 1:00 p.m. matchup with Martin Luther College on Saturday. Follow at mbusabercats.com/composite.