NIACC stops Iowa Central in tourney opener

NIACC's Khalilah Holloway drives to the basket in Tuesday's game against Iowa Central.
NIACC's Khalilah Holloway drives to the basket in Tuesday's game against Iowa Central.

MASON CITY - Survive and advance.

The NIACC women's basketball team survived a 24.6 percent shooting night from the field and topped Iowa Central 56-51 in the first round of the NJCAA Region XI tournament on Tuesday night in the NIACC gym.

NIACC's defense forced Iowa Central into 40 turnovers - 20 in each half.

NIACC (18-12) advanced to Thursday's regional final four contest at DMACC. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.

DMACC topped Iowa Lakes 63-53 in its tournament opener on Tuesday.

DMACC won both regular season contests against NIACC. The Bears won 71-58 in Mason City on Jan. 14 and 97-79 on Feb. 11 in Boone.

Sophomore Morgan Cuffe put the Lady Trojans in front 52-51 with 25 seconds remaining. Freshman UU Longs came up with a steal on Iowa Central's next possession.

NIACC converted four free throws in the final seconds to advance to the regional final four for the fourth straight season.

Taylor Laabs led NIACC with 12 points. Adria Stewart and Kelsie Willert both scored 10 points for the Lady Trojans.

Laabs led NIACC with six steals and six rebounds.

Iowa Central (12-18) was led by Michaela Graffunder with 13 points. Rachel Toto was next in line for the Tritons with 12 points.

The win by the Lady Trojans was their fifth straight over Iowa Central. They won all three meetings this season and won two of three meetings last season, including a win in the regional tournament.

NIACC 56, Iowa Central 51

Iowa Central 11 9 15 16 - 51

NIACC 3 14 19 20 - 56

Iowa Central - Rachel Toto 12, Kayla Morgan 5, Michaela Graffunder 13, Sarah Rolling 2, Ashley Turcotte 9, Meagan Woodward 8, Madison Jensen 2. Totals - 18-43 10-14 51.

NIACC - Taylor Laabs 12, Morgan Cuffe 6, Adria Stewart 10, Riley Galvin 8, Courtney Larson 5, Kelsie Willert 10, Hattie Davidson 5. Totals - 17-69 16-20 56.

3-point goals - Iowa Central (5-15): Toto 3, Turcotte 1, Woodward 1. NIACC (6-45): Laabs 2, Stewart 2, Galvin 2. Total fouls - Iowa Central 20, NIACC 15. Fouled out - none.

NIACC's 2016-17 season (18-12 overall)

NIACC 95, Illinois Central 76

NIACC 116, Bryant & Stratton-Milwaukee 76

NIACC 109, Little Priest Tribal College 65

NIACC 102, Lake Land College 68

Northeast CC 98, NIACC 53

NDSCS 61, NIACC 50

Marshalltown 75, NIACC 68

NDSCS 70, NIACC 61

NIACC 103, Dakota-Bottineau 64

NIACC 87, MCC-Penn Valley 73

Johnson County CC 88, NIACC 72

Kalmazoo Valley CC 85, NIACC 70

NIACC 65, South Suburban College 54

NIACC 75, Cincinnati State Tech and CC 71

Iowa Western 77, NIACC 62

DMACC 71, NIACC 58

NIACC 85, Iowa Lakes 80

NIACC 68, Iowa Central 48

NIACC 96, Ellsworth 59

Southeastern 67, NIACC 48

Kirkwood 71, NIACC 65

NIACC 78, Southwestern 61

DMACC 94, NIACC 79

NIACC 98, Iowa Lakes 57

NIACC 76, Iowa Central 54

NIACC 67, Ellsworth 61

NIACC 102, Southeastern 75

Kirkwood 93, NIACC 81

NIACC 85, Southwestern 70

NJCAA Region XI tournament

NIACC 56, Iowa Central 51