Parkland Women’s Basketball team Advances to Nationals
In a match-up worthy of an NJCAA Final Four, the #1 ranked Parkland Women’s Basketball team beat #3 Illinois Central 59-53 to advance to Nationals for the second consecutive year. The Cobras now (32-1) will find out on Tuesday who their opening round opponent will be at the National Tournament which kicks off March 17 at Johnson County CC in Overland Park, Kansas. ICC’s season ends at (29-4) with two of their four losses coming at the hands of Parkland.
The first half was part defensive battle and part offensive struggle as the Cougars took a 25-21 lead into halftime. The game was a see-saw affair before ICC grabbed the four point lead to end the half. PC was happy to be down just four after shooting 21% over the opening 20 minutes but ICC shot just 34% themselves and PC limited ICC’s second chance opportunities by controlling the boards. Kassidy Alderman’s two three-pointers off the bench were key in keeping the Cobras within striking distance.
The two teams traded baskets for the first 10 minutes of the second half before PC made a key switch, using a 2-3 zone for the first team all year. The zone kept the Cougars shooting from outside and also resulted in transition points for PC which grabbed their first lead of the second half with 9:30 to go. Parkland would extend that lead to as many as 11, at 52-41 with 5:38 left, before ICC mounted a furious comeback.
The Cougars closed to within 3 with 1:05 remaining on the clock but Nadine Vaughn made a pair of free throws to make it a two possession game and ICC would not score again as the Cobras held on for their 32nd straight win.
Laura Litchfield led all scorers with 24 points while Hannah Wascher scored 12 points and hauled down 15 boards. Nadine Vaughn also finished in double figures with 11 points, including 7-7 from the free throw line. PC outscored ICC 16-10 at the line while also winning the battle of the boards 54-43. Jemia Carpenter and Shaakera Jones each had 11 for ICC but their leading scorer on the season Destiny Ramsey was held scoreless on the afternoon.