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Waubonsee runs out of time at NJCAA Division II National Tournament
Waubonsee rally falls short at NJCAA Division II National Tournament
(Overland Park, KS.) – Making their first ever appearance at the NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship Tournament, Waubonsee Community College nearly pulled off a stunning upset. The 12th-seeded Lady Chiefs (20-13) rallied from a 17-point deficit midway through the second half, but fell just short in a 69-63 loss to 5th-seeded Monroe Community College from Rochester, New York.
On the strength of five baskets from beyond the arc, Monroe (27-1) raced out to a 30-10 lead midway through the first half. The Tribunes led by as many as 23 before heading to the locker room with a comfortable 44-25 lead at the intermission. Monroe shot 51 percent (17 of 33) in the first period, while Waubonsee shot just 34 percent (10 of 29) and committed 10 turnovers.
In the second half the Tribunes went cold from three-point range, misfiring on all 10 attempts to finish the game just 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from long range. However, Monroe continued to utilize their superior height advantage to maintain a nearly 20-point lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half.
In a somewhat David versus Goliath matchup, the Tribunes often employed at least three players 6’0” or taller on the floor at all times. Meanwhile the undersized Lady Chiefs countered with only 5’9” Ashley Prost in the post. Despite those shortcomings, Waubonsee grabbed a 13-12 edge in offensive rebounds and Monroe only won the overall rebounding battle 41-36 for the contest.
Still down by 17 with 10 minutes to go, the Lady Chiefs gradually clawed their way back into the game as they began to find the range on their shots down the stretch. Sarah Grams caught fire from long range, connecting on four baskets from beyond the arc to spark Waubonsee’s comeback. The Lady Chiefs pulled to within four points at 67-63 with 1:18 remaining on a layup by Brooke Harner, but failed to score on their next two possessions. A three-point attempt by Grams with 0:40 to go rattled in and out. The Tribunes, who finished 14 of 20 from the charity stripe, added a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to seal the victory. Waubonsee shot only 3 of 4 from the foul line, with all four attempts coming in the first half.
The Lady Chiefs were led in scoring by Grams as the 5’4” sophomore guard netted 21 points on seven three-point baskets. Freshman forward Julianna Wadsworth, the Region IV Tournament’s Most Valuable Player struggled in the first half, but persevered to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds. Harner, a 5’6” sophomore forward added 10 points and hauled down eight boards, while Bailey Klaas handed out nine assists.
The Lady Chiefs are set to play 13th-seeded North Arkansas College (20-10) at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, March 19 in an elimination contest at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. All the tournament games can be viewed ‘live’ via the web at www.njcaatv.org/womenbkbchamp/