In a nationally-ranked showdown, the No. 3 Seward County Community College women’s basketball team defeated No. 4 Cloud County Community College 82-67, on Saturday night at the Green House in Liberal. The Lady Saints outscored Cloud County 45-32 in the second-half, and forced Cloud to commit 25 turnovers on their way to extending their perfect record to 20-0 overall this season. Sophomore Taushelle Rushing had a big night for Seward County with 22 points and eight steals, and freshman Tegan Cunningham also played well with a team-high 23 points and 10 rebounds. The first-place Lady Saints remain perfect at 6-0 in Jayhawk West competition. The Lady T-Birds suffer their second loss of the season and drop to 16-2 overall and 4-2 in the Jayhawk West Conference.

The game had been built up for several weeks as a clash of the top two teams in the Jayhawk West Conference, especially since both teams are ranked in the Top 5 in the nation. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 20, but with inclement weather the previous weekend the game was rescheduled for tonight.

In first-half action, the game stayed close with Seward County holding the lead for the majority of the 20 minute period. The Lady Saints shot 56 percent from the field (15-for-27) and Cloud County hit 48 percent from the floor, and was 4-of-5 from long range in the first-half. Seward County led at halftime 37-35.

Rushing was the answer for Seward County throughout the entire game. Rushing shot 8-for-13 from the field, and 3-of-6 from three-point range, for her team-leading fifth game scoring at least 20 points this season. Rushing also posted eight steals, her 10th game this season with six or more steals. Rushing is now tied for sixth-place all-time on the Lady Saints single-season steals list. Rushing has 104 steals this season, tying her with former SCCC point guard Candi White, who tallied 104 steals in 1998-1999.

Cunningham recorded her eighth double-double this season. The 6-foot-1-inch forward now has led SCCC in scoring seven times and has grabbed a team-high in rebounds on eight separate occasions.

Also having a big game for Seward County was freshman guard Brittnee Lawrence, who scored a career-high eight points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field. Lawrence was a key contributor for SCCC by grabbing five rebounds, and adding an assist and one steal in 16 minutes of action.

Leading the way for the Lady Thunderbirds was returning Jayhawk West Freshman of the Year, Stanecia Graham, who scored 23 points with 10 rebounds. Freshman sharp-shooter Amy Chapman scored 18 points and sophomore Kelsey Nelson posted 11 points.

Seward County will not have long to rest as they hit the road on Sunday, Jan. 29, and travel to Pratt Community College. The Lady Saints (20-0, 6-0) will take on the seventh-place Lady Beavers (4-16, 1-5) for a 2 p.m. Jayhawk West Conference tip-off at the Beaver Dome in Pratt, Kan.