YAKIMA — The game plan worked to perfection.
“We knew Yakima was small and the game plan was to pound it inside, and we did,” Walla Walla coach Bobbi Hazeltine said following her team’s 85-63 victory over Yakima here Wednesday night in a women’s Northwest Athletic Conference Eastern Division basketball game.
“We got a big lead in the first half pounding it inside and our young post players are making great strides. I know part of it was Yakima is small, but our two freshmen had their moments and we did a nice job of getting the ball inside to them.”
Yakima’s two 5-foot-10 posts, Alexis Biermann and Maria Ciriaco, weren’t physical enough to contend with 6-1 Emily Hancock and 6-0 Tabitha Wellsandt, who combined for 36 points and 18 rebounds to power the Warriors to victory.
Hancock made 10-of-13 shots from the field and led all Warriors scorers with 20 points, and she also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. Wellsandt finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
“Emily is shooting 57 percent from the field and we talked to her about shooting the ball at least 10 times a game,” Hazeltine said of Hancock. “Even though we rotated some other kids in there, she got 13 shots and that is good.
“Our two post players were the best two players on the court in this game.”
The Warriors are still adjusting to the loss of freshman sharpshooter Kate Ferenz, who was lost for the season with a knee injury before East Region play commenced last weekend. Ferenz was the second-leading 3-point shooter in the NWAC before she went down.
Sophomore guard Kayla Green was been doing her best to pick up the slack, however. After hitting four 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to spark the Warriors to a 65-59 victory over Treasure Valley Saturday night in the Dietrich Dome, Green connected on 3-of-5 3-pointers and scored 17 points here Wednesday night.
“Kayla is feeling it,” Hazeltine said of Green. “She hit back-to-back 3s in the first quarter and is shooting with a lot of confidence.”
Kennedy Corrigan, WWCC’s sophomore point guard, was a fourth Warrior in double figures with 12 points.
“We had four players score in double figures, and offensively I thought we were pretty good last night,” Hazeltine. “I was a little disappointed in our defense, but Yakima is small and quick and we manned them the whole game with our big posts guarding guards out on the perimeter.
“That was quite a challenge for them, but it was good for them. Overall it is a win on the road and that’s good.”
Walla Walla, which improved to 2-0 in East games and 13-2 overall, returns home to face Wenatchee Saturday afternoon in the Dietrich Dome. The Knights are also 2-0 in league play and 14-3 overall following Wednesday’s 73-69 win at Columbia Basin.