Walla Walla Community College
Women’s Basketball

WWCC women handle Yakima


Walla Walla Community College women’s basketball coach Bobbi Hazeltine offered a simple challenge to sophomore Haley Hutchinson before tipoff against Yakima Valley on Tuesday: snag double-digit rebounds.

Hutchinson did that — and then some — as she pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to lead the Warriors over the Yaks, 69-52.

“I thought she dominated the rebounds,” Hazeltine said of her sophomore forward. “I pulled her aside before the game tonight and said, ‘You’re close to seven rebounds a game. I want you to get 10.’ She did a nice job.”

Hutchinson did more than just dominate the glass, however. She finished with a game-high 18 points, as she nailed her first five shots en route to 10 first-half points.

With the starters struggling to get going, Hutchinson came off the bench and immediately provided a jolt for Walla Walla.

“If we don’t have her, I don’t know, the game’s a lot closer,” Hazeltine said. “She was probably the only player who shot decently around the hoop. We couldn’t buy a basket under there.”

The Warriors held a 14-point halftime advantage, as Walla Walla used a 12-2 run over a five-minute stretch in the first half to build its lead.

But the Yaks fought back after the break and closed the gap to 10 points in the first five minutes of the second half.

Yakima Valley leading scorer AJ Yarlott, who averages 18.5 points per game, came up with back-to-back baskets at the 14-minute mark of the second half to make it 48-38, WWCC.

With the Yaks fighting back, Walla Walla’s work on the free-throw line helped extend the lead. The Warriors, who were in the double-bonus at the 10-minute mark of the second half, converted 10 consecutive attempts at the charity stripe to make it 62-43.

Yarlott had her hands full with Walla Walla’s Paige Vincent, who limited Yarlott to just seven first-half points.

Yarlott picked up six of her team-high 17 points in the final five minutes, although Walla Walla had the game well in hand by that point.

“I thought Paige Vincent, in the first half, did an outstanding job on her,” Hazeltine said. “Then in the second half, she decided to go off on her own and she showed why she’s a good player.”

Vincent, who averages a tick over 10 points per game, struggled from the floor, but finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

Hazeltine was unfazed about Vincent’s 6-of-20 mark from the floor and pointed to her individual defense instead.

“The last couple games she’s been really efficient down there,” Hazeltine said. “Tonight, she missed a bunch of shots, but I pulled her aside and I said, ‘You have one job and that’s to guard AJ Yarlott. If you don’t score, I don’t care.’”

Walla Walla’s 20-of-28 mark at the free-throw line helped extend the lead after halftime, but its work on the glass put the Warriors ahead in the first place.

The Warriors held a 65-39 rebound advantage, including a whopping 28-10 discrepancy on offensive rebounds. Hutchinson’s 13 led the way, as Vincent, Kennedy Corrigan, Bailey Nygaard and Karli McHone all finished with seven.

With the win, Walla Walla remains undefeated (2-0) in the Northwest Athletic Conference East Region and improves to 11-3 overall.

The Warriors square off with Wenatchee Valley (10-5 overall, 1-1 East Region) on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Knights enter the game fresh off their first East Region loss, which came at the hands of Columbia Basin, 77-76, on Thursday.

“The toughest place in the league to play is Wenatchee,” Hazeltine said. “We’ll be tested right away.”

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Article by Alex Field of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

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