It was anybody's game heading into the final 10 minutes of play, as Hibbing Community College and Western Technical College were knotted at 39 points apiece after three quarters of action in their first-round match-up at the 2018-19 NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championship.
The Cavaliers pulled away in the fourth quarter and went on to defeat Hibbing 62-53 and advance to the NJCAA semi-final round tomorrow, Friday March 15, in Bethlehem, PA. The Cardinals will move into the consolation bracket and will play tomorrow as well with the chance to earn an appearance in Saturday's fifth-place game.
For Western Tech, Caitlin Young came of the bench to score a team-high 19 points and haul in six rebounds. Young was an amazing 5-for-6 from behind the three-point arc and was a perfect 2-for-2 from the foul line. Lexi Schmidtknecht also contributed significantly as a sub, also coming off the bench to score 10 points, grab five rebounds and dish out three assists. For the contest, Western saw 43 of 62 points come from non-starters, as Makenna Gabel and Rylee Gabel chipped in 8 points and 6 points, respectively. Casey Moger added six boards, swiped three steals and had three assists in the win; Makenna Gabel led the Cavaliers in helpers with five assists.
Hibbing Community College was paced by Alexis Desjarlait who had 12 points, six rebounds and a pair of assists. Sherae' Cherenfant and Shauna Kavajecz each added 11 points to the Cardinal effort. Klaryssa Whelan lead her team and all players on the day in rebounds, with 8 total; she also scored 8 points for HCC coming off the bench in 27 minutes of action.
Western Technical will advance to play No. 1 seed Hostos, who dispatched Anne Arundel CC, 91-37 earlier today. Tomorrow's semi-final will be at 5pm EST/4pm CST. Hibbing will compete in the consolation round against Anne Arunel CC; their contest will tip-off at Noon, EST/11am CT.
For the full 2018-19 NJCAA Division III Women's Basketball National Championship bracket and more information on the tournament, go to: http://njcaa.org/sports/wbkb/2018-19/div3/national_championship/index
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About the Minnesota College Athletic Conference
The Minnesota College Athletic Conference is the organizational body for NJCAA-affiliated two-year technical and community college athletic programs in the Minnesota State system. The mission of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference is to advance intercollegiate athletics by providing an engaging and supportive environment for success of our student athletes and competition among member institutions. The MCAC is committed to the guiding principles of encouraging the development and success of student athletes, promoting the integrity, honesty and loyalty to member schools as well as upholding the sustainability of conference athletic programs.