Warriors dream of another NWAACC women's basketball title ends with loss

By Jeff Morrow, Herald sports editorMarch 4, 2013 

The Walla Walla Community College women’s basketball team’s dream of winning another championship died Sunday afternoon at the west end of the Toyota Center.

For the record, Nanaya Miki’s little rolling shot that went in with 1 minute to play gave Skagit Valley a 53-51 lead — a lead the Cardinals took for good en route to a 56-51 quarterfinal victory in the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges basketball championships.

But the dream started dying with 2:50 to play when the Warriors’ top player, Michelle Seitz, left the court with an ankle injury and the team trailing 48-45.

“Michelle going down, that’s no excuse for us to lose,” said Walla Walla coach Bobbi Hazeltine. “But she is our on-court leader. She was the East Region MVP. In the last two minutes of a game, she is our go-to girl.”

Seitz had already sank five 3-point field goals. But after Miki’s go-ahead basket, Walla Walla couldn’t get any of its three trey attempts in the final minute to go down.

“It’s pretty emotional in the locker room right now,” said Hazeltine. “They had their hearts set on making the championship game.” Seitz, who finished with 17 points, sat on a trainer’s table in the arena getting her right ankle taped.

“This is not how we planned it,” she said. “They were bigger than we are, so we knew it was going to be physical. We were hitting our shots from the outside in the first half. But we couldn’t hit them in the second half.”

Part of the Warriors’ problem was the defensive game plan Cardinals coach Steve Epperson put together.

“Every time down the court we’d change from playing man defense to zone defense and then back,” said Epperson. “Walla Walla is one of the best at running a Flex offense against a man-to-man defense. Pretty soon they get into a routine and they pick you apart.” By continually mixing it up, the Cardinals wouldn’t let the Warriors get into any rhythm.

Laken McClelland had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while teammate Sophia Baetz added 17 points for the Cardinals (21-8), who will play Clackamas at 8 p.m. today in a semifinal.

Hailey Felgenhauer added 16 points for the Warriors (24-4), who will play Clark at 4 p.m. today in a consolation game.

SKAGIT VALLEY — Sophia Baetz 5-17 7-9 17, Samantah Kelleigh 206 0-0 6, Laken McClelland 7-16 0-0 18, Allison Johnson 0-4 3-4 3, Nanaya Miki 3-11 2-3 8, Darrien Dolquist 2-3 0-0 4, Arie Boyd 0-4 0-0 0, Kylie Whitener 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-61 12-16 56.
WALLA WALLA — Michelle Seitz 5-18 2-2 17, Brooke Hawkins 0-3 0-0 0, Caitlin Duncan 1-10 5-6 7, Hailey Felgenhauer 7-10 2-4 16, Allie Kelsey 2-10 0-0 6, Josie Jordan 2-3 0-1 5, Amy DeLong 0-2 0-2 0, MeShel Rad 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 17-57 9-16 51.
Halftime—Skagit Valley 30-28. 3-point goals—SV 6-21 (McClelland 4-7, Kelleigh 2-4, Boyd 0-2, Baetz 0-8), WWCC 8-29 (Seitz 5-11, Kelsey 2-9, Jordan 1-2, Felgenhauer 0-1, Duncan 0-6). Rebounds—SV 37 (McClelland 10), WWCC 53 (Seitz 10). Assists—SV 5 (Whitener 2), WWCC 14 (Hawkins 6). Turnovers—SV 5, WWCC 14. Fouls—SV14, WWCC 16. Fouled out—Kelsey.

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