For the second time in 14 days, the Seward County Community College women’s basketball team handed No. 22 Northeastern Colorado Junior College a loss. In the opening night of the Pizza Hut Classic, Seward County defeated NJC 72-59 at the Green House in Liberal. Earlier this season on Nov. 23, the Lady Saints handed NJC their first loss of the season. Friday’s result was the same, and the Northeastern Colorado Lady Plainsmen still have only one opponent on their schedule that they haven’t beaten- Seward County. The Lady Saints led in over 38 minutes of the game and were led by sophomore Tegan Cunningham’s 19 points and freshman point guard Stephani Rhoten’s 18 points and nine assists. Seward snaps a two-game losing streak with the victory and improve to 7-4 overall this season. NJC falls to 11-2 overall.

The first meeting between these two teams this season, the Lady Saints gave NJC its first loss with a 63-55 victory in Garden City at the Garden City Classic. That match-up also pitted the nationally-ranked (then-No. 9) Lady Plainsmen verses the unranked Lady Saints.

Seward County raced out to a 17-10 lead after the opening eight minutes of action. Cunningham scored six points and Rhoten posted seven points combining for 13 of Seward’s first 17 points.

Northeastern Colorado answered with an 8-0 run, which included four field goals and three boards, to give NJC their only lead of the game, 17-18, with 9:33 left in the half. SCCC used the next six minutes to build their largest lead of the half with a 16-4 run that gave them a 33-22 lead with just over three minutes before halftime.

Seward County sophomore Jennifer Noel led all players at halftime with five rebounds in five minutes of play, while Seward County shot 46 percent from the field and led 35-28 at the half.

The Lady Saints played a solid second half controlling the game and leading by double figures for the majority of the period. They led by as many as 16 points (70-54) with just under two minutes to play in the game.

The Lady Saints forced 22 Northeastern Colorado turnovers, marking the first time they have caused over 20 turnovers in a game since also tallying 20 turnovers against then-No. 22 Coffeyville Community College in the third game of the season.

Cunningham scored in double figures for the 47th time in her Lady Saint career, while Rhoten led the team in assists for the 10th time this season. Also giving SCCC a strong outing was freshman Amanda Pierson (seven points, six rebounds), sophomore Audra Binford (nine points, three 3-pointers) and Noel (four points, eight rebounds in 12 minutes).

Leading the Lady Plainsmen was Stacy Howard, who collected the games only double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. In addition, Howard led NJC in scoring during the first meeting with Seward County with 12 points in 23 minutes of play.

The Lady Saints win also marks the third victory this season over a nationally-ranked opponent and it is the seventh straight win against Northeastern Colorado dating back to the 2004-05 season.

Seward County plays its final non-conference home game on Saturday, Dec. 8, hosting Labette Community College (9-2) at 6 p.m. in the final women’s basketball game at the Pizza Hut Classic.

OTHER PIZZA HUT CLASSIC RESULTS (WBB):
Labette led by 21 points at halftime (38-17) and continued dominating Dodge City C.C. the remainder of the game to record their ninth victory of the season with the 80-47 victory in the opening game of the Pizza Hut Classic. Labette held DCCC to 29 percent shooting and were led by sophomore post Dana Olsen who recorded a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Olsen currently leads the Region VI and is second in the nation in scoring (23.1 ppg.). Labette was also led by Saysan Jones (10 points, five rebounds) and Brittany Brown (10 points, six assists). Dodge City received scoring from all eight players who entered the game and was led by Rachel Dutton, who scored 12 points with eight rebounds.