Comeback trips Tritons

EAST PEORIA, Ill. – Two-time defending champion Monroe College outscored Iowa Central Community College 55-43 in the second half to rally back for an 87-84 win in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship on Tuesday afternoon.

The ninth-seeded and 14th-ranked Mustangs (23-7) trailed by as many as 22 points during the first half, as sharpshooting Iowa Central got ahead 31-9 with 8:52 to go. Monroe managed to fight back to within 41-32 at the half, and All-American Jasmine McRoy led the Mustang comeback.

McRoy’s four-point play cut the Iowa Central lead to 52-51 with 12:55 left in the game. The eight-seeded Tritons pulled back in front by as many as nine, but Monroe eventually finished off the rally for the first-round win.

McRoy had a game-high 24 points to lead Monroe College, which had a 61-41 rebounding advantage.

Iowa Central, of the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference, had six players score in double figures led by Katie Dentlinger’s 18.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck graduate Lauren Bengen, a Triton sophomore, finished 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-2 at the free-throw line. Bengen had two rebounds, one steal and one assist in 9:17 of court time.

Iowa Central (24-9) saw its six-game win streak end, and the Tritons will now face 16 seed North Platte (Neb.) CC in today’s 11 a.m. consolation contest. The Lady Knights (15-15) fell 63-35 to the top seed Mesa (Ariz.) CC in their tournament opener.