The Seward County Community College women’s basketball team advanced into the quarterfinals of the NJCAA D-I Region VI Tournament with a dominating 81-48 victory over No. 13 tournament seed Allen County Community College on Wednesday night in the First-Round Region VI Playoffs at the Green House in Liberal. It was the 16th straight first-round victory for the Lady Saints dating back to 1993. Seward County used a 30-7 run at the end of the first half and the start of the second half to eliminate Allen County from the post-season. The No. 4 tournament seeded Lady Saints improve to 23-8 overall, and Allen County ends its season at 12-19 overall.

Seward County has now won 11 of its last 12 games overall, and its third straight against Allen County. The Lady Saints advance to take on Cowley College (20-11, 14-4) in the Region VI Quarterfinals at Wichita State’s Charles Koch Arena on Friday, March 7, at 5 p.m. Cowley also collected a first-round victory with a 72-50 win over Garden City C.C. on Wednesday night in Arkansas City, Kan.

Third-year Lady Saints head coach Toby Wynn improves to 6-1 in Region VI Tournament competition while sophomore All-American Tegan Cunningham scored a game-high 24 points with seven rebounds in the victory.

With Seward County in the lead, 26-22, at the 5:28 mark in the first half, Cunningham took over the game scoring nine of the Lady Saints’ next 13 points going into the break. SCCC posted a 39-25 lead at halftime. Allen County never led in the game, but tied the contest twice in the opening minutes of play.

Cunningham led the charge in the first half scoring 16 of her 24 points and helped the Lady Saints to a 59 percent first-half shooting effort. Freshman Brittany Johnson was in foul trouble during the first half for ACCC, but managed to score 10 points in just 12 minutes of action in the first period.

Seward County guards Audra Binford (11 points) and Stephani Rhoten (13 points) hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half as the Lady Saints built a 20-point lead that they would never abandon the remainder of the contest.

The Lady Saints’ lead continued to grow through the final half as Seward County finished the game shooting 52 percent from the field, and secured the game making a season-high 23 free throws (82 percent). Another key factor for SCCC was its bench outscoring Allen County, 25-0.

Johnson scored a team-high 22 points with seven rebounds for the Lady Red Devils. ACCC sophomore guard Joanna Ortiz scored eight points with four steals, but struggled with the Lady Saints’ defensive pressure committing a game-high 11 turnovers.

Freshman post Amanda Pierson had a strong outing for the Lady Saints scoring 13 points with three blocked shots and two rebounds. Sophomore Jennifer Noel had another productive game in the post with eight points and nine rebounds. Over the last three games, Noel is averaging 9.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for Seward County.

The victory ended the Lady Saints’ slump against Jayhawk East opponents this season, which entering tonight had combined for a 4-0 record against SCCC this season. In non-conference play, Coffeyville (68-71), Johnson County (67-79), Independence (53-54) and Labette (60-70) all claimed victories over SCCC.

It was a homecoming of sorts for first-year Allen County head coach Aaron Kallhoff, who spent part of last season as an assistant coach for the Seward County Community College men’s basketball program.

The Seward County program improves to 41-10 overall in Region VI Tournament action since 1993, including a 32-5 mark during the last 10 seasons.

The Lady Saints snapped a nine-game streak of being out-rebounded, by posting a 41-30 rebounding advantage.

FIRST-ROUND REGION VI TOURNAMENT SCORES:
(1) Coffeyville defeated (16) Butler – 91-57 (@ Coffeyville)
(8) Cloud County defeated (9) Kansas City, KS – 78-53 (@ Concordia)
(5) Cowley defeated (12) Garden City – 72-50 (@ Arkansas City)
(4) Seward County defeated (13) Allen County – 81-48 (@ Liberal)

(3) Independence defeated (14) Pratt – 67-39 (@ Independence)
(6) Hutchinson defeated (11) Fort Scott – 87-48 – Tuesday- (@ Hutchinson)
(7) Labette defeated (10) Colby – 68-58 (@ Parsons)
(2) Barton County defeated (15) Neosho County (@ Great Bend)