If Jorie Freeman is right, then Saturday was just a hiccup for the Columbia Basin College women's basketball team.
However, if the CBC sophomore post is mistaken and the Hawks allow some of their first-game foibles to carry further into the NWAACC tournament, then the Hawks' title dreams will come crashing down in a hurry.
"We got the bad game out of the way," Freeman said after CBC's opening 76-68 win over an overmatched but feisty Everett squad. "We had some jitters, but we'll be better tomorrow."
They had better be, with perennial power Lane (22-5) stepping onto the Toyota Center court for a 4 p.m. tip with CBC (24-2) in today's quarterfinals.
Between them, the two programs have won five of the last six NWAACC titles.
In stretches of Saturday's game, CBC had the look of the title contender it is, especially during a 17-3 first-half run that covered 91/2 minutes.
The offense was fluid, making the extra pass for easy layups --Freeman scored six of her 17 points in that stretch, and Tiffany Idler all seven of hers off the bench.
The defense was overwhelming, contesting every shot -- the lone make for Everett (15-11) was Anna Work's 3-pointer from well beyond the arc. And there were no second chances.
But that kind of play, which propelled CBC to a 24-17 lead after a sloppy start, didn't carry over into the second half.
"They just kept coming back hard and kept pushing on," Hawks coach Cheryl Holden said. "But that's what you have in the tournament. Just when we started to make a run, they made one of their own."
Indeed, the table was set for the Hawks to run the Trojans off the court. Everett, after all, suited just eight players and played seven for any real minutes. Its backcourt --Work (31 points) and Mary Ochiltree (16 points) -- played nearly the entire game, and 5-foot-11 forward Tessla Rennie is the closest it has to a post.
Rennie was overmatched against CBC's rotation of Freeman, Lauren Walker and Idler.
"We played all the kids," Holden said, "rotated everyone and kept the legs as fresh as we could."
The deck was stacked in the Hawks' favor. But even as the fouls and minutes stacked up on the Trojans, CBC couldn't flip the switch.
Work tied the game almost single-handedly, scoring eight straight points to pull Everett even at 51 with 8:48 to play. CBC didn't help itself with four straight turnovers, a small sampling of the 30 the Hawks were saddled with for the game.
But with her team needing a basket, freshman guard Andrea Bland canned a pair of treys from the top of the key, and Freeman scored inside to get CBC back in front by six.
The Hawks made enough free throws the rest of the way -- 10 of 19 over the final 5 minutes, 21 of 40 for the game -- to hold on.
"We all play together," Bland said. "We work as a team."
Trishi William's matched Freeman for team high with 17 points to go with eight rebounds and five assists while playing nearly 39 minutes. Bland had 13 points and 11 rebounds.