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HCC loses numbers game

March 19, 1999

Hawks fall to eight-player team by 10

HCC lossBy BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




For the Mott Community College Bears, "Eight is Enough" -more than enough.

And now the Bears are headed to the final four.

Living up to the motto the eight members of the Bears picked out in early November, Mott (24-11) used old-fashioned work ethic to put four starters in double figures and hold Hagerstown Community College at arm's length for a 50-40 quarterfinal win in the women's NJCAA Division II Tournament at the HCC athletic complex.

[cont. from sports page]

The Bears advance to play defending national champion Illinois Central (32-2), while HCC (26-7) will play Monroe Community College (33-1) at 2 today.

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"We were blessed to win this game tonight," Bears coach Wray Cannaday said of the game that set a national Division II record for fewest total points in a tournament game. "HCC is a fine team and they had a great effort in the second half - but you won't find arrogance among our team. We will remain humble and get ready for the next round."

The Hawks' great effort kept the outcome of the game in doubt until the final three minutes as both teams suffered through sporadic shooting and less than sterling court play.

But in the end, it came down to the fact that HCC went frigid at the free-throw line, hitting only 14 of 28 for the game.

"We struggled tonight from start to finish," HCC coach Marlys Palmer said. "Our coaches had a feeling we were a little tenative -- we didn't meet the challenge."

HCC hit only four baskets in the first half as both teams had trouble getting many shots to drop. The Bears did not fare much better, as they hit only six baskets en route to building, then blowing, a 10-point lead just before halftime.

Mott lead 17-7 with just over six minutes left before halftime, but a finger roll by the Hawks' Kaylene Taylor opened up a 12-3 run for HCC, which closed to 20-19 on a layup at the buzzer by Tia Ferguson.

"They really worked hard in that stretch," Cannaday said. "They are an extremely well coached team and we knew they deserved our respect."

But in the second half, Mott opened with an 11-2 run to wrest control of the game. And although the Bears' offense periodically went into hibernation, the cold-shooting Hawks could not take advantage.

Hagerstown shot a paltry 26 percent from the floor while Mott only shot 29 percent.

But both teams put on an exhibition of defense displaying the skills that carried them to the national tournament. HCC tallied 58 rebounds as Molly Schoenberg and Tia Ferguson outmuscled the Bears' Nicole Buford and Jamee Greenwood, but the balanced scoring of the Bears proved too much.

Schoenberg, who scored six of her 10 points in the last seven minutes of the game, and the normally dependable Judy Zimmerman, who tossed in 11 points, led HCC. Lashawn Grays and Greenwood each had 11 for Mott.

Palmer was quick to add that although the team's disappointing loss was a dark moment in an otherwise grand season, she and the team were proud of their accomplishments and to have the opportunity to play in the tournament.

And, she reminded the team that they had yet another chance at redemption tomorrow.

"We want to win and have a chance to play Saturday," Palmer said. "We seem to struggle on our own floor. Hopefully, things will be different tomorrow."

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