Walla Walla Community College
Women’s Basketball

WWCC women sweep weekend

Walla Walla built a 34-21 halftime lead and then blew the doors off in the third quarter en route to a 78-55 victory over Big Bend in a Northwest Athletic Conference East Region women’s basketball game Saturday night in the Dietrich Dome.

The victory, coupled with Friday’s 64-44 victory over Wenatchee in the dome, boosted the Warriors’ season record to 9-3 and their region mark to 2-1 two days into a stretch of eight days in which they will take the court five times. Friday’s game was originally scheduled Wednesday but was postponed due to snowy road conditions.

“We played two games in 24 days, now we play five games in eight days,” WWCC coach Bobbi Hazeltine said. “I’d like it to be somewhere in between.”

The Warriors’ long layoff was largely due to the holidays and the cancelation of a crossover tournament in Portland that cost the team three games in December. Then, after opening league play in Spokane Jan. 4, a game WWCC lost 63-53, the Warriors had a bye on their schedule followed by Wednesday’s postponement.

But Hazeltine’s team appeared to be back on the race track during the weekend as it routed Wenatchee and Big Bend back-to-back. And it was freshman guard Cierra Jo McKeown at the wheel both nights.

After pouring in 25 points in Friday’s victory, the Touchet High School product scored 29 points against the Vikings, including 13 points in the Warriors’ third-quarter offensive explosion. Walla Walla sank 10-of-12 shots from the floor in the quarter, including four 3-point baskets, and lit up the scoreboard for 30 points to take a 64-33 lead into the fourth quarter.

“It was great to come out in the third quarter and play the way we did, because we’ve struggled in the third quarter,” Hazeltine said. “But when we get to running, we are pretty good. The key is that we need to get the defensive stops before we can run.”

Teresa Acock, a freshman guard out of DeSales, knocked down a 3-pointer 30 seconds into the fourth quarter that gave WWCC its biggest lead of the game, 67-34.

So when Big Bend went on an 11-0 run shortly thereafter, it didn’t matter.

McKeown was WWCC’s only double-figure scorer, just as she was Friday night. She made 10-of-18 shots from the field overall, sank 5-of-9 3-point attempts and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

“We had a little talk with Cierra about how good she could be at this level,” Hazeltine said. “I don’t think she believed us, but after these last two nights maybe she does.”

Guards Jade Skidmore and Mackenzie Reddish finished with nine points each for the Warriors, and posts Emily Hancock, Cheyan James and Adrianna Peralez combined for 14 points. Sophomore Kate Ferenz, normally one of the team’s top point producers, took just three shots on the night and finished with one 3-point basket.

“Kate does so many more things for us,” Hazeltine said. “She’s so cerebral. But we do need to get her into the offense more going forward.”

Sonnie Martinez led the Vikings with 13 points and Madison Wilcox finished with 12.

Big Bend is now 2-2 in league games and 10-7 overall.

 McKeown made 9-for-17 shots overall and was 5-for-10 from behind the 3-point arc in Friday’s victory. Ferenz finished with nine points, Skidmore contributed six and Acock, Reddish and Kortney Hutchinson chipped in with five points each as the Walla Wallans connected on 23-of-57 field goals (40 percent) overall and were 7-for-21 (33 percent) from downtown.

WWCC’s defense, meanwhile, limited the Knights to 23 percent shooting from the field (14-for-62) and 25 percent (6-24) from outside the arc. Makenna Faulkner led Wenatchee with 10 points and Devenee Villareal tallied eight.

Talyssa Swan scored seven points for the Knights but was checked on 2-for-10 shooting from the field. And Treasure Farmer was 1-for-10 from 3-point distance, 1-for-14 overall and was limited to four points on the night.

Walla Walla beat Wenatchee 48-43 on the backboards, with Hutchinson and Skidmore collecting 10 rebounds each. Faulkner and Swan picked off six rebounds each for the Knights.

Skidmore was also credited with eight assists.

Article by Jim Buchan of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

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