Sophomore Lauryn Mapusua had 11 points, including a huge fourth-quarter 3-pointer to lead the No. 7 Blue Dragons to a 68-63 victory at Iowa Western on Saturday night in Council Bluffs, IA
Sophomore Lauryn Mapusua had 11 points, including a huge fourth-quarter 3-pointer to lead the No. 7 Blue Dragons to a 68-63 victory at Iowa Western on Saturday night in Council Bluffs, IA

Hutchinson CC Sports Information

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Playing the entire second half without its leading scorer, the No. 7-ranked Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team withstood an Iowa Western rally for a 68-63 victory in the final game of the Holiday Inn/Hampton Inn Classic on Saturday night at Reiver Arena.

The Blue Dragons rebounded from their first loss of the season on Thursday against No. 8 New Mexico, which then lost to Iowa Western on Friday. The Blue Dragons improve to 7-1 overall heading into Wednesday's Jayhawk Conference opener against Coffeyville at the Sports Arena.

The Blue Dragons led Iowa Western 33-17 with 5:31 to play in the second quarter. At that point, Blue Dragon leading scorer Abby Ogle left the game with an injury.

Before that point, the Blue Dragons were on a 14-0 run, holding the Reivers scoreless for 7 minutes, 42 seconds. The Dragons led 38-25 at halftime.

The Blue Dragons suffered through a near-disastrous third quarter, getting outscored 22-12 to take a three-point lead (50-47) into the final quarter.

Hutchinson never relinquished the lead, successfully defending four possessions in which the Reivers had a chance to tie or take the lead.

Still leading 50-47, sophomore Lauryn Mapusua nailed a 3-pointer with 9:30 to play in the fourth quarter for a six-point cushion. Iowa Western's Hayley Berfield hit a 3-pointer to cut the Dragon lead to 55-52 with 7:02 remaining. The Dragons again made it a two-possession game as Brooklyn Betham fought for a pair of offensive rebounds and was fouled. She hit 1 of 2 free throws for a 56-52 lead with 6:37 to play.

Mapusua came up big again with a two-point lead. She drove the lane for a layup and a 58-54 lead with 4:48 to play. Neither team scored for the next 3:44 before Sasha Francis scored with 56 seconds for a six-point lead. The Dragons hit 8 of 10 free throws in the final 37 seconds to secure the victory.

Nafatoumata Haidara led four Blue Dragons in double figures with 12 points, hitting 6 of 8 free throws. Betham, Makayla Vannett and Mapusua scored 11 points each. Vannett had three 3-pointers and Mapusua finished with a career-high three 3-pointers. Ogle and Tor'e Alford had seven points each.

The Blue Dragons were 21 of 56 from the field (37.5 percent), hitting 7 of 26 from 3-point range and 19 of 28 from the free-throw line. The Blue Dragons out-rebounded Iowa Western 42-36. Betham, Vannett and Mapusua had seven boards each.

The Dragons had a season-low nine turnovers.

Hutchinson survived an opponent-season-high 12 3-poiners by Iowa Western. The Reivers were 21 of 61 shooting (34.4 percent), going 12 of 37 from 3-point range and 9 of 12 from the foul line. The Reivers had 12 turnovers.

Sommer Blakemore had four 3-poiners and finished with a game-high 21 points. Berfield had 10 points.

Blakemore hit a 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the first quarter to give Iowa Western a 14-11 lead. The Blue Dragons fought through a 2 minute, 23 second scoreless streak. Ogle hit a layup with 2:26 left and then Haidara scored inside to give the Dragons the lead for good with 1:43 remaining in the quarter for a 15-14 lead.

Leading 19-17 after one quarter, the Blue Dragons began what was to become a 14-0 run with a Vannett 3-pointer with 9:53 to play in the second quarter. That run was capped with a Haidara free-throw with 5:31 to play.

The Dragons hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter and held the Reivers to 3 of 13 overall shooting with four turnovers in a decisive 19-8 second quarter.

The Blue Dragons are now 5-0 all-time against Iowa Western. This was the first time in the series the game was played in Council Bluffs.