Tijuana Kimbro had a major contribution with 12 points, eight coming in the second half as the No. 8 Blue Dragons defeated No. 14 Angelina 72-59 on Wednesday in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas (Photo courtesy Ed Bailey)
Tijuana Kimbro had a major contribution with 12 points, eight coming in the second half as the No. 8 Blue Dragons defeated No. 14 Angelina 72-59 on Wednesday in the opening round of the NJCAA National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas (Photo courtesy Ed Bailey)

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

LUBBOCK, Texas – The Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team hit four early 3-pointers and led wire-to-wire on Wednesday afternoon to eliminate the NJCAA National Tournament's No. 4 overall national seed.

Tia Bradshaw knocked down a 3-pointer just 16 seconds into Hutchinson's second-round game against No. 4 seed Angelina and the Blue Dragons went on to eliminate the Roadrunners 72-59 at the Rip Griffin Center.

Now 32-3, the eighth-ranked and 13th seeded Blue Dragons advance to the NJCAA Tournament quarterfinals to play No. 5 seed Odessa College at 5 p.m. Thursday. Odessa defeated Tyler 69-54 on Wednesday.

Hutchinson advances to the national quarterfinals for the sixth time in team history and for the first time since 2015.

With 3-pointers from Bradshaw and Jada Mickens and two from Makayla Vannett, the Blue Dragons built a fast 18-10 lead with 5:03 to play in the opening quarter. That lead grew to 15 on a Bradshaw layup for a 41-26 lead with 1:12 to play in the second quarter.

Angelina (29-4) started to pound the ball inside and got the Blue Dragons in deep foul trouble and the Roadrunners cut the Hutch lead to 48-43 with 4:04 to play in the third quarter on a bucket by Natasha Mack.

That's where the Blue Dragons started getting key performances off the bench.

With starting forward Jada Mickens and Dejanae Roebuck in deep foul trouble, sophomore Tijuana Kimbro had a major impact after the Roadrunners pulled within five points. Kimbro converted a three-point play with 1:31 to go in the third quarter and went 1 of 2 from the line 50 seconds later to help the Dragons extend their lead to 54-47 after three quarters.

Kimbro hit another jumper with 7:17 to play to give Hutch a 59-50 lead and scored again with 5:54 left which gave Hutchinson a 63-51 lead. The final dagger came when Vannett knocked down her fourth 3-pointer of the game with 3:16 to play to give the Blue Dragons a 66-54 lead.

The Blue Dragons had their hands full with Angelina's Natasha Mack, a national player of the year candidate and nation's No. 2 scorer. Mack posted a double-double with a game-high 29 points and 13 rebounds. She was 11 of 18 from the field, including a 3-pointer.

But the rest of the Roadrunners combined to shoot 11 of 40, including 0 of 16 from 3-point range.

Vannett led the Blue Dragons in scoring for the second-straight national tournament game with 18 points, including 4 of 11 3-point shooting. Vannett added six rebounds and three assists.

The Blue Dragon freshman guard was 1 of 4 Hutchinson players to score in double figures. Mickens finished with 13 points. Bradshaw had nine of her 11 points in the first half.

Kimbro's clutch performance totaled 12 points, eight coming in the second half, on 4 of 7 overall shooting and 4 of 5 free-throw shooting.

Abby Ogle had just two points, but she collected six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Roebuck had seven points and five boards and Milan Schimmel finished with six points.

Hutchinson shot 46.3 percent overall (25 of 62), hitting 6 of 25 from 3-point range and 16 of 20 from the free-throw line. The Dragons held a 37-31 rebounding advantage and had only 14 turnovers to Angelina's 15.

The Roadrunners finished 22 of 58 (37.9 percent), going just 1 for 20 from distance and 14 of 22 from the foul line.

Simran Mayfield was the only other Angelina player to score in double figures with 13 points off the bench.

Hutchinson's fourth 3-pointer of the opening quarter and Vannett's second of the game gave Hutch a 18-10 lead with 5:03 to play in the opening quarter. The Dragons then went scoreless for the next 4 minutes, 48 seconds as Angelina pulled with 18-13 on a Mayfield basket with 1:27 to go. The Dragons finally snapped the drought with a strong drive to the bucket by Bradshaw, who scored with 45 seconds left to give Hutch a 20-15 lead after one period.

Mack scored and was fouled 58 seconds into the second quarter and the Dragon lead was down to two at 20-18. Roebuck's short jumper on Hutchinson's next possession started a 6-2 Hutch run. When Mickens scored with 7:50 to play, the Dragons lead 26-20. Leading 26-22, Ogle stole the ball and passes up the floor to Roebuck who scored with 6:54 left. Kimbro scored her first points of the game on a point-blank shot with 5:16 left for a 32-22 Hutch lead. Schimmel then grabbed an offensive rebound with three Angelina players surrounding the ball and scored to give the Dragons a 34-22 lead with 4:01 to play. The Dragons extended the lead to 41-26 on a Bradshaw basket and led 41-29 at halftime.

Angelina outscored Hutchinson 18-13 in the third quarter and the Roadrunners continually pounded the ball inside. The Dragons didn't score for 2 minutes 11 seconds the lead dwindled to 45-38 before Mickens hit two free rows with 4:57 to play in the period. Mack had 13 points in the third quarter alone and when she hit Angelina's only 3-pointer of the game with 4:04 left, Hutch's lead was down to 48-43. Mack scored again to cut the Dragon lead to 50-45. The Dragons again yanked back momentum when Kimbro completed a three-point play with 1:31 left to up the Hutch lead to eight. Hutch led 54-47 after three quarters.

Leading 57-50. Kimbro hit a short jumper at the 7:17 mark to up the lead to nine. Two Vannett free throws with 6:05 left upped the lead to 61-51. Kimbro scored again with 5:49 left for a 61-51 lead. Up nine with 4:46 left, the Dragons finished off the Roadrunners with a Vannett 3-pointer with 3:16 to go for a 66-54 lead. Angelina had only two field goals in the final 3:16 of the game.

GAMES NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 18-10 all-time in the NJCAA Tournament, including 3-1 in second-round games. … Hutch's 32 wins this season are fifth most in team history. … This was the fourth time this season Hutch has held an opponent to only one 3-pointer in a game. Dejanae Roebuck moved past Heather Robben into sixth place on the career free-throw list with 134 free throws. … Abby Ogle moved into the single-season top 10 in steals, now with 96.