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HCC women soar to Md. JuCo title

February 25, 2002|By BILL STERNER / Staff Correspondent

McHENRY, Md. - There was a block party at Garrett Community College Sunday afternoon, and the Hagerstown Community College women's basketball team was the master of ceremonies.

Maggie Robinson and Robin Curley turned in outstanding performances and the Hawks cooled off another opponent as they routed Rockville 80-57 to win the Maryland JuCo Conference championship.

It was the second time HCC (26-3) accomplished the feat on the GCC floor, and the Hawks' first title since 1999.

Robinson had a team high 23 points, while Curley muscled in 22 points and blocked nine shots.

"We came here to prove we were the best team," HCC coach Marlys Palmer said. "I think we did that."

And how.

The Hawks, who lost Sara Taylor with a knee injury Friday, made more adjustments Sunday after being forced to go through the last five minutes of the first half without Robinson, who suffered a low ankle sprain. Although Robinson would return, HCC never missed a beat.

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"This team has a lot of heart," point guard Mouse Blevins, who had nine assists, said. "I think every one of us has suffered with sickness or injury or something during the course of the year. But all that stuff together has made us great."

"This team has suffered a lot," Palmer agreed. "It is a long season and you have to persevere through physical problems, emotional letdowns and nagging injuries. But this team has certainly done that."

HCC used practically the same script in running off the Knights as it has throughout the tournament - a patient, efficient offense that finds open shots and isn't afraid to break at every opportunity, mixed with a ferocious defense, especially underneath, that tires teams out quickly.

Rockville didn't record it's first offensive rebound until 12 minutes in as HCC built a 34-15 lead. Curley, Robinson and Vennece Fowlkes, the tournament MVP, were too much on the glass. The Hawks outrebounded Rockville 25-11 in the first half, setting a tone for the remainder of the game.

"We felt we could match up with them the best if we took away the inside game," Palmer said. "We knew they could put great guards on the floor, but rebounding and getting second chances in there is our strength."

HCC opened a 46-26 lead just after the half, and the Knights never got closer than 14 points.

"We have improved in leaps and bounds," Blevins said of her teammates. "We all know and understand our roles. Now we understand each other."

"The first time we played (Rockville) we went to the line 57 times," Palmer said. "We wanted to show everyone that we didnt need all those free throws to win."

Maryland JuCo

Women's Championship

HCC 80, Mont.-Rockville 57

ROCKVILLE (57)

Cooper 1 0-0 2, Howard 4 1-2 10, Prather 0 2-2 2, Ogunniyi 3 2-2 8, Anderson 5 0-2 12, Marshall 3 0-0 6, Jalloh 1 1-2 3, Oa 1 0-0 2, Williams 5 1-6 11. Totals 23 7-18 57.

HAGERSTOWN (80)

Gantt 0 1-2 1, Mason 2 2-2 6, Blevins 4 5-6 13, Pulieri 3 0-0 3, Cline 1 1-2 3, Robinson 10 3-5 23, Whipp 0 0-2 0, Curley 8 5-6 22, Myers 1 0-0 2, Fowlkes 1 3-5 5. Totals 30 20-29 80.

Halftime - HCC 44, Rockville 26. Three-point goals - Rockville 4 (Anderson2, Cooper, Howard). Technical - Rockville coach Donald Williams.

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