BLUE DRAGON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
No. 8 Hutchinson (32-3) vs. No. 14 Odessa (24-7)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
LUBBOCK, Texas – In the grand scheme of things for the Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team, it's two down and three to go at the NJCAA National Tournament.
But head coach John Ontjes and the No. 13-seeded Blue Dragons are singularly focused on Thursday's national quarterfinal match-up with No. 5 seed Odessa College.
The No. 8 ranked Blue Dragons take on their second-straight Texas opponent in the NJCAA Tournament at 5 p.m. on Thursday at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock, Texas.
The game will be broadcast live by Hutchinson radio station KHMY-FM (93.1). Steve Carpenter will call the action at 4:50 p.m. The game will be streamed pay-per-view by NJCAATV at NJCAAATV.com.
The Blue Dragons are 2-0 at the 2019 NJCAA Tournament. Hutchinson defeated 20th-seed Western Nebraska 81-60 in the opening round on Monday and then toppled No. 4 overall seed Angelina 72-59 in the second round on Wednesday.
The Blue Dragons make their sixth all-time appearance in the national quarterfinals, the first since 2015. Hutchinson is 5-0 in national quarterfinal games.
As the No. 5 overall seed, Odessa received an opening-round bye. The Lady Wranglers made their 2019 tournament debut on Wednesday and defeated Tyler 69-54.
The Lady Wranglers are 24-7 overall and qualified for the NJCAA Tournament as the Region V champion. Odessa knocked off national tournament at-large participants New Mexico and South Plains on back-to-back nights to win the region tournament. Odessa was ranked No. 19 in the final NJCAA regular-season poll. Odessa was one of only four Top 8 seeds to advance to the quarterfinals.
Thursday's matchup will be only the second ever between Hutchinson and Odessa in women's basketball. The last encounter was 1980 on a neutral court. Odessa won that meeting 77-66.
The Blue Dragons have played two polar-opposite teams in the first two games of the national tournament. Western Nebraska was a 3-point shooting team and Angelina was built to play inside. So far, Hutchinson held Western Nebraska 30 points under its 90-point scoring average and Angelina 15 points under its 74-point average.
Points could be at a premium on Thursday as the NJCAA's No. 6 (Hutchinson) and No. 7 (Odessa) best defenses square off against each other. The Blue Dragons are allowing 52.7 points per game, 31.6 percent overall shooting – Hutch is fifth in the national in that category – and 25.9 percent shooting from long range this season. Only 4 of 35 opponents this season have shot 40 percent or better against Hutchinson this season.
Odessa allowed 53.0 points per game while opponents shoot 33.2 percent (12th in NJCAA) overall and 25.7 percent from distance (13 in NJCAA).
The Blue Dragons are the only Region VI team remaining in the women's championship. Also on Wednesday, seventh-seeded Seward County was blitzed by 10th seed South Plains, 87-61. Late on Wednesday, No. 6 Butler fell to No. 11 Northwest Florida State 51-50.
Hutchinson freshman guard Makayla Vannett is among the tournament's top scorers with 38 points and 10 3-pointers in the Dragons' first two games.