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Game Time: Nesbitt and Brown tame Taylor, Johnson

BY CARLOS SOSA | JULY 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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In the previous meeting between Cullen/Monica's/Bob's Your Uncle and Coralville Hy-Vee, on July 11, head coach Randy Larson's team came out victorious, 83-67.

On Monday night, things were different. Mike Stoermer's Hy-Vee squad pulled out a 77-73 win to advance to the Game Time League championship on Wednesday.

"Every person on our team contributed," Iowa guard Trisha Nesbitt said. "That was really big for us. Everybody stepped up when she needed to. We were also able to double in on Morgan [Johnson] and contain Theairra [Taylor] a little bit."

The first half was a back and forth game. Both teams fought for the lead, but Larson's team acquired a 5-point edge midway through the first.

Led by current Iowa players Johnson and Taylor, Larson's team was poised to come out with a win. Johnson finished the first half with 13 points; Taylor followed that with 12 points.

But their efforts weren't be enough.

"We stopped going in to Morgan," Taylor said. "We had an advantage in the post and shot away from that in the second half."

Larson's team went into the second half with a 3-point lead. Cullen were able to maintain the lead for half of the second period but eventually faltered. Stoermer's team never gave up.

"They were shooting the ball really well," Johnson said. "Their zone kept us pushing the ball way too high. We were catching the ball outside our shooting range. That really hurt us."

Even though Stoermer's team was out-rebounded, 52-31, it was able to play well enough on defense to make stops when it mattered. The players kept themselves in the game with defensive aggression and hitting shots down the stretch.

"Our intensity on defense [worked well]," incoming Iowa guard Kathryn Thomas said. "We blocked out and crashed the boards. Our defense leads to offense."

Stoermer's team controlled Johnson and Taylor more effectively in the second half. Johnson finished the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Taylor finished with 20 points.

Thomas and company used their consistent defense to charge back in the latter half of the second half. They never let the lead get out of reach. With the game tied at 63 with 8:42 to go, they started scoring.

Redshirt freshman Panther guard Brooke Brown exploded after the break. She led her team to a comeback by scoring 21 points and hitting a pair of clutch 3-pointers.

Brown wasn't the only one whose shot was falling. The team looked to another Northern Iowa sophomore, Amber Sorenson, who finished the game with only 12 points, but they all came in the first half and they were all from long range.

Nesbitt chipped in 13 points while also hitting some clutch shots down the stretch.

"I would say the rest of my team was stepping up all game," she said. "That gave me some openings at the end because everyone had to be guarded tonight. I just made the plays when I had to."


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