Nebraska Wesleyan pulled within four points with just under three minutes to play, but that was as close as they could get as Elmhurst College held on for the 79-68 victory in NCAA Division III women’s basketball action on Wednesday night (Dec. 9) in Snyder Arena.
Lyndsie Long and Meghan Merklein formed a two-headed monster to lead the Bluejays as they had over 65 percent of Elmhurst’s points. Long had 31 points with Merklein scoring 21.
Elmhurst led 36-27 at halftime and built up a 18 point lead with 15:39 to play before NWU would mount a comeback. Over the next ten minutes, the Prairie Wolves would outscore Elmhurst 26-13 to climb within five points at 65-60 with 4:17 to play as Andre Edington would make a layup for NWU.
The Bluejays would get back up eight points, but Edington again would be the spark for NWU as she hit a layup to pull NWU within four at 68-64 at the 2:51 mark. The Prairie Wolves would score just four points the rest of the way as Elmhurst stopped the rally.
Long and Merklein were just too much for the Prairie Wolves to overcome. Long scored 26 of her 31 points in the second half, while Merklein was a perfect 7-7 in the first half for the Bluejays with 16 points.
For NWU, five players reached double figures in scoring. The big spark of the game was Edington off the bench as she scored 12 points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds. Shea Rasmussen led the Prairie Wolves with 18 points making three 3-pointers. Point guard Janelle Baal scored 13 and Katy Golden and Sadie Struebing each had 10.
Nebraska Wesleyan will return to GPAC play on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 9) when they travel to Crete, Neb., to face rival Doane College.