COUGARS FALL AT NJCAA NATIONAL TOURNEY 74-68
The Western Nebraska Community College women had a much shorter stay they would have liked at the NJCAA Division-I national basketball tournament in Salina, KS, losing this morning in the first round 74-68 to ASA College of Brooklyn, NY, in a game heard on Double Q Country radio.
The Cougars, the #14 seed, looked to be in control with a 58-46 lead, but 19th seeded ASA took over down the stretch and outscored WNCC 28-10.
A 3-point lead with just under 2:00 left gave the Lady Avengers the cushion they needed to keep WNCC from getting any closer than 2 points, and 2 free throws inside the final 12-seconds pushed the final margin to 6.
Both teams were hot from the foul line…WNCC sinking 23 of 26 and ASA 16 of 21…but neither shot particularly well from the field…Cougars at 37% overall and 33% from long-range, slightly better than ASA’s 36% and 32%,
The game came down to rebounding, and the Lady Avengers dominated the glass with a 56-36 margin, including a 26-9 edge in offensive rebounds and a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points. ASA also blocked 9 shots while the Cougars swatted away just 1.
ASA had the top scorer for the game in Shaquita Smith, who had 30, and the top rebounder in Tiffany Jones, who had 16 points and 16 rebounds.
WNCC put 4 players in double figures, led by Mikayla Brower with 17. Gritt Ryder added 13 while Panhandle products Jessica Aratami and Ashley Stevens each had 12…Stevens with a team-high 9 rebounds.
The Cougars end the season with an official record of 20-15…but with 13 of the losses by forfeit on an NJCAA eligibility ruling. ASA, making its first national tournament appearance 5 years after beginning its sports program, improves to 25-3 and plays 3rd seeded Hutchinson (KS) CC tomorrow. Hutchinson had a first-round bye.