Hastings College womens basketball falls to fifth ranked Northwestern, 81-62

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HASTINGS, Neb - For the third time this season, the Hastings College women's basketball team was pitted against an opponent ranked in the Top-5 of the NAIA D-II Coache's Poll. This time it would be the No. 5 ranked Northwestern Red Raiders who came to Lynn Farrell Arena on Saturday, fresh off a 22-point victory over Briar Cliff. Unfortunately for the Broncos, the Red Raiders would leave with a 19-point, 81-62 victory over the Broncos.

The Broncos (9-5, 5-4 GPAC) looked hot in the early goings against the Red Raiders, taking a 9-6 lead from the spread offense of Gabby Grasso (JR/Omaha, NE), Sophia Pankratz (JR/Hastings, NE), Harper Sheets (SR/Greeley, CO), and Kaitlyn Scmit. The Red Raiders were able to fight back though, with Kassidy De Jong draining a shot from beyond the arc to tie the game 9-9.

The Red Raiders got ahead 11-9, but a pair of Emma Grenfell (JR/York, NE) free throws made it an 11-11 game with 1:27 left in the first quarter. Halle Plumbtree (SO/Fullerton, NE) finished the quarter off with two made free throws to get the Broncos to a 14-13 deficit.

The Broncos were put into a large deficit from the start of the second quarter, as the Red Raiders went on a 12-0 run to start the quarter and take a 26-13 lead over the Broncos

Hastings was able to get within single digits of Northwestern with 18 seconds left in the half, but a three-pointer by Sammy Blum gave the Red Raiders' their 33-21 lead going into halftime.

The final 20 minutes of the contest was, much like the first half, ran by the Red Raiders. Northwestern was able to build their lead to as high as 27 points, but never saw their lead go below 17 points. The Broncos' offense saw a slight uptick in shooting percentage, but not enough to overcome their deficit.

Grasso was the only Bronco to eclispe 10 points in scoring, leading the Broncos with 14 points. As a team, the Broncos had a +2 turnover margin, but the Red Raiders saw a lot of their offense come from beyond the arc, going 15-for-31. Hastings could not match this, going 3-for-15 for three-pointers.

The Broncos will now go to Bellevue, Neb., on Nov. 28 for their first game of the Bellevue Classic. This game will be the fourth game against a Top-5 team, as they will face the No. 4 ranked College of the Ozarks Bobcats. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. CST.