Inferno Punches Ticket To NACC Tournament

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LISLE, Illinois -- Alverno College rallied from 12 down in the fourth quarter to defeat host Benedictine University, 70-65, and clinched a spot in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Women's Basketball Tournament in the process.

The Inferno (11-13, 11-8 NACC) used a 15-2 run to take a 60-59 lead with just under four minutes to play.

Mollie Mikyska started the spurt, and Tessa Mersberger and Mackenzie Mathies drained back-to-back 3-pointers to pull within four. Mathies followed with another triple to cut the deficit to one and tied the game at 59-59 with a 1-of-2 trip to the foul line.

A Mikyska free throw was the go-ahead point before the Eagles responded with a basket to go back ahead by one. Mikyska answered with a layup which put Alverno ahead for good.

Donna Zehner and Mathies combined to go 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 14 seconds to seal the victory.

The Eagles (19-5, 15-4) were held to just four points over the final two minutes of play and shot just 37 from the field in the contest. The Inferno shot over 40 percent from the field and made 18-of-26 free throws (69 percent).

Mathies tied for game-high honors with 16 points, and Mikyska added 15 on 7-of-12 shooting.

Zehner (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Gabby Hood (11 points, 10 rebounds) both registered double-doubles while Katelyn Bartlett chipped in eight points and eight rebounds.

Karli Selear had tallied seven points, seven assists and five rebounds before she was sidelined with an injury late in the third quarter.

D'Asia Williams led Benedictine with 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting, and Venita Parsons added 11.

Alverno, which returns to the NACC Tournament after a two-year absence, closes out the regular season Saturday versus Marian University. The Inferno's three seniors will be honored on Senior Night, which tips off at 7 p.m. inside Reiman Gymnasium.