BLUE DRAGON WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
No. 8 Hutchinson (33-3) vs. No. 10 New Mexico JC (28-5)
Hutchinson CC Sports Information
LUBBOCK, Texas – The Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team looks to continue a memorable national tournament run on Friday as the Blue Dragons meet New Mexico Junior College in the NJCAA Women's Tournament National Semifinals.
The No. 8-ranked/13-seed Blue Dragons (33-3) and the No. 10-ranked/8-seed Thunderbirds (28-5) will square off at 4 p.m. on Friday at the Rip Griffin Center in Lubbock in the first national semifinal. No. 2-seed Gulf Coast and No. 14-seed Trinity Valley meet in the second semifinal at 6 p.m.
The winners will play for the 2019 national championship at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
The game will be broadcast live on Hutchinson radio station KHMY-FM (93.1) with Steve Carpenter calling the action at 3:50 p.m. The game will be streamed on NJCAATV on a pay-per-view basis.
Hutchinson advances to the national semifinals for the sixth time in program history. The Blue Dragons also reached the semifinals in 1977, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Hutch is 3-2 in semifinal games. The Dragons bid to go to the title game for the first time since 2015.
Winning their first three national tournament games, the Blue Dragons have bumped off two Top 5 seeds in Angelina, which was No. 4, in the second round and No. 5 Odessa in Wednesday's quarterfinals, 66-50 on Thursday.
The Blue Dragons have been stellar defensively in Lubbock. Hutchinson has held its first three opponents to a combined 64 points under those teams' season scoring averages.
Offensively, freshman Makayla Vannett continues her hot shooting. She is among the tournament scoring leaders with 56 points and 14 made 3-pointers through three games. Sophomore Dejanae Roebuck is the other Blue Dragon averaging in double figures in Lubbock at 11.0 points per game.
Friday's matchup will be the third all-time between Hutchinson and New Mexico JC, which is located in Hobbs, NM. The Blue Dragons and Thunderbirds meet in 2000 and 2001, both games at the Sports Arena. Hutchinson won both games, 73-64 and 68-61.
New Mexico is the second Region V opponent for Hutchinson in the tournament. Odessa was the Region VI champion; New Mexico received an at-large bid to the tournament.
The Thunderbirds were the preseason No. 1 team in the NJCAA Rankings. NMJC's five losses have been to Odessa twice, South Plains, NOC-Enid and Central Arizona.
Losing to Odessa 69-65 in the Region VI championship game, the Thunderbird and topped No. 8 Jones 78-67 in the second round and No. 1 Wabash Valley 63-59 in Thursday's semifinals.
New Mexico has an imposing front line that has helped the Thunderbirds to the third-best shooting percentage in the nation at 47.4 percent. The Thunderbirds average 75.9 points offensively. Hutchinson will face another tough defensive team as NMJC is 13th in the nation in scoring defense at 54.8 points per game. The Thunderbirds are sixth nationally in field-goal defense at 31.9 percent.