Walla Walla Community College
Women’s Basketball

Women take down Sasquatch with 2nd half rally

Walla Walla maintained its perch atop the Northwest Athletic Conference’s Eastern Region standings here Wednesday night by gutting out a 58-52 women’s college basketball victory over Spokane.

The Warriors improved to 9-2 in the East and are one game ahead of Columbia Basin, which whipped Big Bend 79-70 Wednesday night to run its record to 8-3 in the division. Walla Walla takes an 18-5 overall record into Saturday afternoon’s home game against Big Bend in the Dietrich Dome.

With three regular season games remaining — the Warriors are at Blue Mountain next Wednesday and entertain CBC Feb. 28 — Walla Walla has already clinched its 15th consecutive ticket to the NWAC Championships which will be played early next month in Kennewick.

Wednesday’s victory did not come without a cost.

Haley Hutchinson, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward who leads the Warriors in rebounding, suffered a knee injury midway through the first half. The extent of the injury is still unknown and Warriors coach Bobbi Hazeltine can only keep her fingers crossed.

“It was a freak play, with absolutely no contact,” Hazeltine said of Hutchinson’s injury. “She was up in the air, twisted and fell.

“The Spokane trainer said it looked like a torn ACL, but we don’t know that for sure. But she was in a lot of pain, and when one of your better players goes down it is pretty tough.”

Tougher still because the Warriors were struggling at the time and trailed the Sasquatch 28-21 at the intermission.

“In the first half we were just kind of dragging and really down,” Hazeltine said. “We had to regroup at halftime, and we did.”

The halftime adjustments were more mental than physical, the coach said.

“From an offensive standpoint, we tried to attack them differently,” Hazeltine said. “But basically, I said, ‘Let’s play for Haley,’ and that motivated everybody.”

Spokane increased its lead to eight points early in the second half before WWCC launched its comeback. Karli McHone’s 3-point basket tied the game at 44-44 and ignited a 10-0 run that put the Warriors in command.

“We led by 10 points with a couple of minutes to go,” Hazeltine said. “We then missed a couple of free throws and threw the ball away once, but we were able to hold on down the stretch.”

Kennedy Corrigan scored the majority of her game-high 20 points in the second half and McHone, who was 5-for-10 from 3-point distance in the game, made four trey in the second half to finish with 17 points. Paige Vincent added 13 points as that trio combined for 50 of the Warriors’ 58 points.

“Kennedy was very aggressive in the second half,” Hazeltine said of Corrigan, her freshman point guard. “She simply would not let us lose. And Kori his some big 3s for us. The combination of those two was very big for us.”

Hazeltine also praised the play of Coral Knerr, a 6-1 freshman post who saw her most extensive action of the season after Hutchinson went down and 6-0 sophomore Devynn Johnson found herself on the bench in foul trouble.

“Coral is one of those girls who hasn’t played unless we were in a big lead,” Hazeltine said of Knerr. “But she responded with some good defense and got some big rebounds for us. We are probably going to use her more now because we have to.”

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