CONCORDIA, Kan. – Fresh off a 72-68 road win over Garden City on Wednesday afternoon, the Cloud County women's basketball team would push the number 17-ranked Seward County women's basketball for the first 20 minutes of play before seeing the Saints pull away in an 82-59 defeat inside of Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Saturday, November 30th.
The loss drops Cloud County to 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while the Saints moved to 7-2 overall on the year and 2-0 in KJCCC play.
With Seward County looking to push the pace and play full-court pressure defense throughout the game, the T-Birds would take what they were given on the offensive end to match SCCC and tie the game at 11-11 with 5:24 remaining on a Kelsie Kelly layup. A pair of Jacy Dalinghaus free throws a minute later would give CCCC the lead at 13-11 as the T-Birds would open up a 20-13 lead on an Isabella Vazquez layup with 2:33 remaining in the first quarter while taking a 22-21 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Following a Jasmina Jones jumper to open up the second period, Seward County would tie the game at 24-24 with an Aquila Mucabaquire triple before taking the lead 26 seconds later at 26-24. The points would be part of a 9-0 run by the Saints as Cloud County would get two free throws while going nearly four minutes between field goals before Kelly would break the drought to pull the T-Birds back within two at 30-28. Seward County would respond with a 7-2 run to go up 37-30 heading into the final two minutes of the first half as the Saints would go on to score 11 of the final 16 points to take a 41-35 halftime lead.
Both teams would connect on one-of-two free throws in the opening minutes of the second half before Seward County would go on a 7-0 run to push their lead to double-digits at 49-38 with 6:06 left in the third. After a Lydia Ostenson layup to break the streak, the Saints would go on an 8-0 run to take control at 57-40 with just under three minutes remaining in the third quarter while going on to grab a 64-44 lead going to the fourth.
Cloud County would threaten to make things interesting in the fourth, getting a LaKya Leslie jumper and Jones triple to cut the deficit back down to 15 at 64-49 just 44 seconds into the quarter but the Saints would respond with six straight points to go back up by 21. The T-Birds would battle once more by scoring eight of the next 11 to get back with 16 at 73-57 with 4:38 remaining in the game, but allow nine of the final 11 points to SCCC as the Saints would hand the T-Birds a loss in their conference home opener.
After shooting 42.9 percent (nine-for-21) from the field in the first half, the T-Birds would finish the game with a 33.8 percent (23-of-68) field goal percentage while hitting just three-of-15 (20 percent) threes while going 10-for-16 (62.5 percent) from the free throw line. A big rebounding edge (59-37) in favor of Seward County would help lead to a 17-10 advantage in second chance points for the Saints as SCCC would also turn 21 Cloud County turnovers into 18 points.
Leslie, Dalinghaus, and Vazquez would all finish with 10 points to lead the T-Birds, with Leslie also grabbing 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Kelly and Jones would each add eight points as no other Cloud County player would score more than five in the game.
The T-Birds will look to bounce back in their final home game of the 2019 portion of their 2019-2020 schedule when they host Colby Community College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 4th. Colby suffered their first defeat of the year on Saturday afternoon in a 67-53 home loss to Butler Community College to fall to 8-1 overall after having their KJCCC opener against Neosho postponed on Wednesday.