March 24, 2012
The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team surpassed the run of the 1977 Lady Dragons on Friday night, advancing to the program’s first-ever national championship game.
Sophomores Laura Patrick and Jackie Patterson combined for 35 points and the Lady Dragons got key bench contribution from freshman Kelsey Webber as the No. 2 Lady Dragons had another big second half in a 69-56 victory over No. 3 Central Arizona in the first NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament national semifinal on Friday at the Bicentennial Center.
Hutchinson (36-0) will take on top-seed Trinity Valley (35-0) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the championship game. Trinity Valley survived a late rally from Pensacola State to win 71-66.
The 1977 Lady Dragons went through that season unbeaten, won Region VI and won three games in the national tournament before Panola College ended that run in the national semifinals.
The 2012 Lady Dragons surpassed that run by holding the nation’s No. 3 team to 28.6 percent shooting and forcing 13 Vaquera turnovers.
Patrick finished with a postseason-high 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting, including three big 3-point goals. Patterson had another strong game with 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Hutchinson bench played a key role in the semifinal victory, hitting what may have been the shot of the game. Leading 51-46 with less than 5 minutes to play, Webber caught a pass on the left side and calmly sank a 3-pointer to give HCC an eight-point lead with 4:51 to play. With Webber’s 3-pointer, Hutchinson outscored Central Arizona 18-10 in the final 6 minutes of the game.
Hutchinson shot 41.5 percent from the field (22 of 53), including 5 of 17 from 3-point range and 20 of 26 from the free-throw line. HCC was 16 of 19 from the line in the second half.
Central Arizona shot 16 of 56 from the field, going 6 of 19 from 3-point range and 18 of 32 from the foul line.
Brea Townsend finished with 18 points and Katrina Otteson had 16 points to lead the Vaqueras.
In the second half HCC locked down defensively, especially on Ottenson, who had four first-half 3-pointers. In the second half, Otteson was shut out from the floor, missing all three 3-point attempts.
Hutchinson led 29-26 at halftime after trailing by as many as seven points in the first 20 minutes. HCC held Central Arizona to 9 of 28 shooting in the second half and only 1 of 6 from 3-point range. The Vaqueras were only 11 of 20 from the foul line in the second half and HCC outscored Central Arizona 40-30 in the final 20 minutes.