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HCC the chaser in women's tourney

March 08, 2001

HCC the chaser in women's tourney



By BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team finds itself in an odd position this weekend.

When it gets to this time of season, the Hawks are used to being chased. This weekend, they will be doing the chasing.

In the past, HCC has had the luxury of being a high seed in the Region XX tournament - either first or second which are awarded with a first-round bye. But this year, it's different. The Hawks are the fourth seed in the six-team field and will play the Community College of Allegheny County-Pittsburgh today at 7 p.m. in the first round.

It means HCC will have to work overtime to win the region title. But that's OK to Hawks coach Marlys Palmer, who isn't fond of sitting around.

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"I want to play," Palmer said. "It might hurt us in the finals because we have to play three games to win the title and might have to play a team that has only had to play two, but I'd rather be playing than sitting."

The Region XX title has added significance, especially since the winner of this tournament earns an automatic bid into the NJCAA nationals, which will be played March 21-24 at HCC.

But for HCC, it is a transition time. A time to play to win while ushering in a new attitude for next season.

"We don't have the sophomores on this team who are hungry," Palmer said. "We need the freshmen to step up and take on all that they can take in this tournament. The freshmen have to start making the transition of becoming sophomores. We don't want to be leaderless next year. They have to fight the good fight. I want them to play hard and leave it on the floor."

Palmer is calling for the likes of Emily Middlekauff, Robin Curley, Jade Whipp, Vennece Fowlkes, Dana Kline and Tiffany Tucker to make a statement if the Hawks plan to make a run for the title. Sophomore Brooke Russ led HCC with 11 points per game while Fowlkes and Middlekauff averaged nine points each.

HCC's season fluttered some because of inconsistency. After a period of regrouping and readjusting, the Hawks made a run, winning their final eight regular season games before losing in the first round of last week's Maryland JuCo Tournament.

"It's been a year where we have constantly had to regulate as it has gone along," Palmer said. "We had a slow start that hurt our confidence and we've had some personnel changes and injuries."

HCC has started four freshmen for the last part of the season since Amy Fisher went down with a stress fracture of her foot. The Hawks have been getting production out of Curley in the absence, but have missed the leadership.

So, since the Hawks aren't a top seed, Palmer has approached the region tournament with different expectations.

"We've taken our share of licks, but we have been playing well," Palmer said. "I think we will be more focused for this tournament. If we go down there and give it a good fight, anything can happen."

Women's Region XX



Tournament

At Frederick Community College

Today


No. 3 Catonsville vs. No. 6 Rockingham (N.C.), 5 p.m.

No. 4 HCC vs. No. 5 Community College of Allegheny County-Pittsburgh, 7

Saturday


Catonsville-Rockingham winner vs. No. 2 College of Southern Maryland, 5

HCC-Pittsburgh winner vs. No. 1 Frederick, 7

Sunday


Region XX All-Star game, noon

Semifinal winners, 2

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