EVERETT, Wash. — Walla Walla Community College’s women’s basketball team continued its dominating season with a 78-37 victory over Highline in a first-round matchup at the Northwest Athletic Conference Championship Tournament here on Thursday.
The East Region champion Warriors (29-1 record) mounted a double-digit lead with 11 unanswered points midway through the first quarter, and later put the game out of reach with a 21-2 run in the third to down the Thunderbirds.
“Highline gave us a few problems early on, so it was tough for us to get going,” Warriors coach Bobbi Hazeltine said. “But once we got going, we had a good third quarter. It just took us a little while.”
WWCC advanced to the quarterfinals, where the Warriors will take on Lane tonight at 8 p.m. The winner will go to a semifinal on Saturday night on 8 p.m.
Lane routed Skagit Valley, 83-43, in the first-round game following the WWCC-Highline game.
WWCC has already defeated Lane twice this season — an 80-61 win at a holiday tournament in Lakewood on Dec. 8, and then a 98-65 win in Salem on Dec. 29.
Lane (23-6 record) finished the regular season second in the South Region.
“This will be the third time we’ve played them,” Hazeltine said of Lane. “They’re so much better now than the last time we played them, so we’re going to have to play really well. I’d say they’re the hottest team in the tournament right now. And we just happened to get them now.”
Against Highline, WWCC ended up with every starter scoring in double-digits. Jade Skidmore put up 18 points, Cierra Jo McKeown added 17, Teresa Acock had 13, Adrianna Peralez 12, Taylor Turner 10.
Peralez finished the night with a double-double, including a game-high 17 rebounds — six offensive — against Highline of the West division.
“We were pretty good all around, but I thought our two post players (Turner and Peralez) played really well — probably their best this season,” Hazeltine said. “Adrianna was gave us a lot of rebounds, and Taylor had a big job guarding their best player (Sharon Ajayi) who was the Freshman of the Year in their division.”
Ajayi came in averaging 14.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, but against WWCC mustered only six points on 3-of-7 shooting and four rebounds before fouling out.
“Taylor did a really nice job on her,” Hazeltine said. “It was one of her better games, for sure.”
Following the victory, with Lane-Skagit Valley then tipping off around 10 p.m., WWCC stuck around to watch the first half and prepare for their next opponent.
Friday’s quarterfinal will also start late in the evening.
“Another long day for us,” Hazeltine said. “We just got to figure out somethings for the kids to do until then.”
Warriors 78, Thunderbirds 37
HIGHLINE (37) — Kaye 15, Perrien 9, Ajayi 6, Martinez 4, Medrano 2, Demic 1.
WALLA WALLA (78) — Skidmore 18, McKeown 17, Acock 13, Peralez 12, Turner 10, Andrews 2, Lyon 2, Hutchison 2, Bowen 2.
3-point goals — Highline none, Walla Walla 5. Total fouls — Highline 11, Walla Walla 10. Fouled out — Highline (Ajayi). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — Highline 21, Walla Walla 54. Turnovers — Highline 8, Walla Walla 13. Assists — Highline 4, Walla Walla 20.