The No. 2 seeded Seward County Community College womenís basketball team defeated No. 15 seeded Walters State Community College 56-45, in the first round of the NJCAA D-I National Tournament on Tuesday evening at the Bicentennial Center in Salina. The defense of SCCC led the way as they advance to the quarterfinals on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. against No. 10 seed Salt Lake Community College. Seward County freshman forward Tegan Cunningham was the only player in Monday nightís game to score in double-figures with a game-high 20 points. Seward County improves their overall record to 34-1 overall this season.

In the first-half it was a back-and-forth battle with neither team taking a commanding lead. Seward County took the first lead of the game on a Chelsea Blackshear three-point field goal, before Walters State evened the score 3-3, on a three-pointer at the 17:22 mark. The Lady Saints had a four point lead in the first-half and Walters State grabbed their largest lead of the game, 24-21, before Seward County went on a 5-0 run to finish the half and lead 26-24 at halftime.

Seward County shot 39 percent from the field in the first-half and held the Lady Senators to a meager 24 percent (8-for-33) shooting effort from the floor. Walters had the rebounding advantage in the first-half 28-18, but Seward County forced 10 turnovers.

Cunningham, who a day earlier was announced at the National Tournament banquet as a Kodak/WBCA First Team All-American, was the star offensively on Tuesday night. Despite shooting only 40 percent from the field (8-for-20), Cunningham tallied her 17th double/double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Cunninghamís team-high 10 boards also moved her into first place all-time in Lady Saints history for single-season rebounds with 344. Cunningham passes former Lady Saints First Team All-American Jamie Talbert for first-place. Talbert, who finished her collegiate career at the University of Oklahoma, recorded 339 rebounds in 1999-2000.

Seward Countyís defense continued to pressure Walters State forcing 24 turnovers for the game. The Lady Saints took care of the ball in the second-half committing only four team turnovers. Seward County had their first double-digit lead when they led 49-39 with 4:49 left to play in the game. SCCC posted their largest lead of game (13 points) in the final minutes of the game.

The Lady Saints were out-rebounded 50-36, while Walters freshman Dana Garrett collected a game-best 13 rebounds. It was the 10th time this season and the second game in the post-season that Seward County has held their opponent to less than 50 points in a game (Neosho County- 37 points).

Seward County was also led by sophomore guard Taushelle Rushing (nine points with eight steals and five rebounds) and sophomore Chelsea Blackshear (scored eight points with five assists and three steals). In addition, Seward County freshman guard Chontaye Walter was named a Kodak/WBCA Honorable Mention All-American. Seward County has now had 13 players who have earned WBCA or NJCAA All-American honors in the last nine years.

NJCAA D-I National Tournament Results from Tuesday:
No. 1 Southeastern Illinois (32-1) 63 def. No. 16 Black Hawk (IL) (26-7) 43
No. 2 Seward County (KS) (34-1) 56 def. No. 15 Walters State (TN) (23-11) 45
No. 3 Odessa (TX) (29-2) 56 def. No. 14 Casper (WY) (26-7) 52
No. 6 Chipola (FL) (28-6) 66 def. No. 11 Tyler (TX) (26-7) 63
No. 8 Copiah-Lincoln (MS) (29-3) 78 def. No. 9 Jefferson (MO) (30-4) 64
No. 10 Salt Lake (UT) (28-5) 74 def. No. 7 Shelton State (AL) (30-3) 47

Tournament Schedule for Wednesday, March 21
First Round Competition
Noon No. 5 Central Arizona (30-2) vs. Georgia Perimeter (25-5)
2 p.m. No. 4 Monroe (NY) (27-2) vs. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (24-6)
Loserís Bracket Competition
4 p.m. No. 11 Tyler (TX) vs. No. 14 Casper (WY)
Winnerís Bracket Competition
6 p.m. No. 3 Odessa (TX) vs. No. 6 Chipola (FL)
8 p.m. No. 2 Seward County (KS) vs. No. 10 Salt Lake (UT)