BILLINGS, Mont. — The Columbia College women's basketball team had its 16-point halftime lead disappear, as Clarke rallied in the second half for a 62-59 upset win Thursday in the first round of the NAIA Division I National Tournament at Rimrock Auto Arena.
Columbia College was the No. 1 seed in the Duer Bracket, while Clarke was the No. 8 seed.
The Cougars outscored the Pride 15-5 in the first quarter and 18-12 in the second to lead 33-17 at halftime.
Clarke (22-11) ended the third quarter on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to 43-39. In the fourth, Columbia College stretched its advantage back to double digits with 6:18 to play, but Clarke answered with a 10-1 run to close the gap to 56-55 with about three minutes remaining.
The Pride tied the game at 58 with a 3-pointer with 2:27 to play, then scored four of the game's final five points. The Cougars missed their last 10 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-point attempts — including a half-court shot at the buzzer — in the closing seconds with a chance to tie the game.
Senior guard Morgan Brandt (Fatima High School) finished with a team-high 15 points for Columbia College, adding a team-best nine rebounds.
Brandt shot 2-of-6 from the field, but she made all 11 attempts from the free-throw line, including eight in the fourth quarter.
For the season, Brandt finished with 412 points (12.5 per game) and 289 rebounds (8.8 per game), shooting 81.2 percent (125-of-154) from the free-throw line.
For her career, Brandt ends with 1,408 points (10.7 per game) and 1,002 rebounds (7.6 per game). She leaves the Cougars at No. 6 on the school's all-time scoring list and as No. 1 all-time in career rebounds.
Junior forward Mai Nienhueser (Helias High School) did not play Thursday for the Cougars.
Columbia College, which entered the national tournament ranked No. 3 in the NAIA Top 25 poll, finishes the season with a 29-5 record.