Walla Walla Community College
Women’s Basketball

Warriors clinch at least #2 seed

Walla Walla Community College had a good night here Wednesday at the Dietrich Dome in women’s NWAC East Region basketball action. The Warriors avenged a 66-47 loss to Columbia Basin, finished their home season a perfect 13-0, and clinched no worse than the second seed to the NWAC Tourney with an 83-78 win over the Hawks.

“This is so sweet,” Warrior coach Bobbie Hazeltine said. “And we just clinched second place. Our kids know the rivalry and they are just going crazy in there (the locker room).”

It didn’t look like anybody was going to miss a shot to start this one. The Hawks hit six-of-their first eight and opened a 15-9 lead with four minutes gone. The Hawks finished the first quarter 12-of-22, 55 percent, and took a 28-24 lead after one.

The Warriors almost matched the Hawks. Kate Ferenz buried two triples and the Warriors shot 10-of-21 from the field to trail by only four.

“We’re a good defensive team, but we got caught up in their game,” Hazeltine said. “I haven’t seen us (like that) defensively, but I haven’t seen us like that offensively. We aren’t a huge scoring team. They are a hard match up for us because they are so dang athletic and they just go, go, go.”

The Hawks cooled and a Teresa Acock bucket gave the Warriors their first momentary lead of the game at 31-30 with 5:00 left in the half. Aycock finished the quarter with six and Cierra Jo McKeown added five as the Warriors went to intermission down 42-41.

The Warrior defense stepped up to hold the Hawks to 5-of-19 shooting in the third quarter. McKeown went for 12 points in the quarter and the Warriors out scored the Hawks 24-14 to go up 65-56 after three.

“We made some adjustments at half time and it was better,” Hazeltine commented. “We talked to Cierra about taking it to the hole and she did.”

“At half time, coach said to key down on their shooters,” McKeown said of the Warrior defense. “We switched every screen and stopped their shooters. We stopped Cayla Jones (a game high 27 points on the night) from driving.”

The Hawks weren’t done as a Sierra Perez triple narrowed the gap to 72-70 with 3:25 left. Emily Hancock answered for the Warriors with a 3-point play and a 75-70 Warrior lead.

Jacee Jensen stole a Hawk in bounce pass following a Warrior turnover, and at the other end, it was Jensen who found Ferenz all alone under the Warrior basket for a bucket and a 77-72 Warrior lead with 2:10 left.

“Jacee Jensen doesn’t get a lot of stats, but she was good,” Hazeltine commented. “Jacee got some big steals, and a great pass (to Kate).”

The Hawks cut it to 77-74 with :51 left and had to foul, but got the wrong Warriors. Jade Skidmore hit four consecutive free throws in the last 40 seconds and McKeown capped her 23 point night with a pair with 11 seconds left to ice the 83-78 win.

“Free throws are big,” McKeown said. “We kind of stalled as the time got down and (then) did well on the free throws.”

“Jade has had some big games at the free throw line,” Hazeltine said. “She’s just a player.”

Skidmore finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Hancock added 11, Ferenz scored 10, and Aycock came off the bench to get 11.

“We expect 3’s from Teresa,” Hazeltine said of the DeSales product. “She was driving (tonight) and giving us 2’s off the bench. She gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors, 12-2 in the East, close out the regular season, with the East No. 2 seed clinched, with away games at North Idaho Saturday and at Treasure Valley next Wednesday.

“We played a lot better here than we did there (the 19-point loss),” McKeown summarized. “This (win) gives us an undefeated home court season.”

Article by Ken Morgan of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

Photo by Greg Lehman of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

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