Tegan Cunningham scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and Stephani Rhoten continued her streak at the free throw line (10-of-10) as Seward County Community College defeated No. 21 Hutchinson Community College, 60-57, in overtime at the Green House on Wednesday night. Despite trailing 10-0 to start the game, Seward County fought back in the second half and was near perfect from the free throw line (13-of-14). Seward County picks up its fifth straight win and its fifth victory over an NJCAA Top 25 team this season. SCCC improves to 17-7 overall and to 8-2 in the Jayhawk West. Hutchinson drops its first road game since Dec. 1 (63-45, at Coffeyville C.C.) and is now 18-5 overall and 7-2 in conference play.

The game featured nine ties and seven lead changes, with neither team leading by more than six points during the final 25 minutes of action. The Lady Saints looked to have control of the game with their largest lead (47-41) after sophomore Audra Binford connected on a 3-pointer with 5:15 left in the second half.

Hutchinson would later answer with freshman Kylee Naccarato hitting two treys, and sophomore Amanda Fessenden making a 3-pointer to give the lead back to the Lady Blue Dragons, 49-50, with 2:28 remaining.

HCC sophomore Fairen Lapaio made the front end of the 1-and-1 free throws to put Hutchinson up by two points, before Rhoten sent the game into overtime with back-to-back free throws late in the second half.

Rhoten, a 92 percent free throw shooter on the season, has now made 29 straight free throws. The 5-foot-8 Canyon, Texas native finished with 16 points, and a game-high six assists and four steals while playing in all 45 minutes. Rhoten’s free throw shooting percentage currently ranks third in the NJCAA.

Hutchinson scored the first points in overtime on two Fessenden free throws. The Lady Saints marched back into the lead as Cunningham made a jump shot, and followed with an old-fashioned three-point-play to put SCCC back into the lead, 56-55, with just over a minute left in overtime. Seward County never trailed again as sophomore Jennifer Noel and Rhoten connected on two free throws each to give Seward County the victory.

The win also improves the Lady Saints overall record at the Green House to 225-6 (.974) since the start of the 1992 season.

Cunningham recorded her 26th career double-double, and her 24th career 20-point scoring game. Cunningham, an Oklahoma State signee, played in all 45 minutes and shot 3-of-4 from three-point range, and collected two steals, one assist and one block.

Cunningham is getting closer to breaking two Seward County all-time career records. She needs just 58 points to become the all-time career leading scorer and only seven field goals to become the all-time leader in career field goals. Both records are currently held by former Lady Saint All-American Jamie Talbert (1,274 career points/511 career field goals).

Binford tied a season-high with four 3-pointers (4-of-6), and the sophomore guard finished with 12 points, two rebounds and two steals. Binford has now totaled 24 career double-figure scoring games.

Hutchinson was led by two players in double-figure scoring, including Fessenden (15 points, six rebounds) and Naccarato (10 points, five turnovers).

The Lady Saints receive a bye on Saturday night and will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 13, traveling to play No. 15 Barton County Community College (22-2, 8-2). SCCC and the Lady Cougars are scheduled for a 6 p.m. tip-off at the Barton County Gym in Great Bend, Kan.

GAME NOTES:
Seward County shot a season-best 93 percent from the free throw line. The Lady Saints trailed 25-26 at halftime, and are now 2-5 this season when trailing at the break. Seward County forced 17 turnovers, but was out-rebounded, 33-41. Seward County shot just 36 percent from the field, and recorded only its second win (2-6 overall) when allowing their opponent to shoot for a higher percentage from the field (Hutchinson shot 37 percent). In addition, the Lady Saints basketball team hosted “Think Pink” night at the Green House, where SCCC and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association came together to help with Breast Cancer Awareness. Both teams had players and coaches wearing pink and all fans were encouraged to wear pink to the game Wednesday night.