BLUE DRAGON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
No. 8 Hutchinson (30-3) vs. No. 21 Western Nebraska (29-3)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
The Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team begins its ninth NJCAA National Tournament appearance on Monday against the Western Nebraska Cougars in Lubbock, Texas.
Game time for the opening-round game between the No. 8 nationally ranked and 13th-seeded Blue Dragons and the No. 21 ranked and 20th-seeded Cougars is at 6 p.m. at the Rip Griffin Center.
The game will be broadcast live on Hutchinson radio station KHMY-FM (93.1) beginning at 5:50 p.m. with Steve Carpenter calling the action. NJCAATV will provide exclusive video via pay-per-view at NJCAATV.com
The Blue Dragons are 16-10 all-time in the NJCAA Tournament play, but the first two trips to Lubbock haven't been desired outcomes for 12th-year coach John Ontjes. The Blue Dragons are 0-2 at the Rip Griffin Center – falling to Jones County 91-82 in 2018 and 62-51 to San Jacinto-North last season.
Hutchinson qualified for the NJCAA Tournament for the third-straight season – the second straight as an at-large team. Ontjes has guided the Blue Dragons to three national runner-up finishes (2012, 2014, and 2015) and a national third-place finish (2013).
Monday's matchup will be the first-ever meeting between Hutchinson and Western Nebraska, which is located in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
The Blue Dragons are 30-3 overall, the only losses have come to 2019 NJCAA Tournament participants Seward County and Butler. The Dragons haven't played since March 4, a 61-60 loss to Butler in the Region VI Tournament semifinals in Park City.
The Blue Dragons enter the national tournament as the sixth-best defensive team in the nation, allowing 52.2 points per game this season. They are fourth-best in the NJCAA in total field-goal defense at 31.2 percent.
All season long, the Blue Dragons were the top offensive team in the Jayhawk Conference. The Blue Dragons average 81.9 points per game, shooting 46.3 percent overall – 11th in the NJCAA – and 32.0 percent from 3-point range.
Hutchinson will face a Western Nebraska team that likes to shoot the 3-pointer. Western Nebraska leads the nation in made 3-point goals with 11.8 makes from distance. The Cougars average 31.2 attempts from deep per game and are fifth in the nation in 3-point efficiency at 37.9 percent.
Overall, Western Nebraska averages 90.1 points (5th in the NJCAA) while shooting 46.5 percent overall (8th in NJCAA). The Cougars allow 58.3 points per game while allowing 34.6 percent shooting to opponents.
Western Nebraska is 29-3 and brings a 17-game winning streak. WNCC defeated Sheridan College, Eastern Wyoming and Casper to claim the Region IX championship and earn a trip to nationals for the 15th time in program history.
The Hutchinson/Western Nebraska winner advances to meet No. 4-seed Angelina at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in a second-round matchup.