Scottsbluff, Neb.--The Gillette College Pronghorn women, the third seed from the North Subregion, had to earn a win against the Northeastern Junior College (NJC) Plainswomen-the sixth seed from the South Subregion-in the first round of the Region IX tournament. It was edge-of-the-seat contest towards the end, but the Pronghorns prevailed with a 66-60 win in Scottsbluff, Neb. on Monday afternoon.
The Pronghorn women and NJC started neck and neck with an early 5-5 tie. Then Gillette College started heat up to form a gap. It was 25-13 in favor of Gillette halfway through the first stanza. The Pronghorns were able to make threes and box out underneath on defense to form that lead. NJC ran into foul trouble early and committed 10 fouls with eight minutes to go in the half.
The Pronghorns were able to draw fouls in the first half. Lots of them were caused by Keke Wright driving down low. Unfortunately, the shot made while being fouled hardly went in and Gillette wasn't able to capitalize from the line as often as they wanted to. This kept the Plainswomen in the game. NJC was able to out-rebound Gillette by one, by the end of the half. NJC capitalized from the field and pulled within one. It was 32-31, in favor of Gillette at halftime.
The Plainswomen took the lead at 33-32 to start the second half. Gillette College didn't panic, as they went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 39-33. The Plainswomen didn't let the Pronghorns run away with it, though. There were numerous times that NJC trailed by two points. Whenever that happened, the Pronghorns were able to capitalize on turnovers and rebounds off the Plainswomen and more than once, a Pronghorn player was able to sink a big three off a wide open look.
With 54.4 seconds left to go in the game and the Pronghorns up 62-57, the Plainswomen started to foul, but the Pronghorns made the free throws when it mattered to pad the lead.
Christina Davis led all players with 19 points.
The Pronghorns will play Miles Community College, the seventh seed out of the North Subregion, on Tuesday at 3pm. Gillette College dispatched Miles CC in both contests of the regular season. It was a 60-51 victory in Miles City, Mont. on Jan. 5th and a 79-67 win at the South Campus on Feb. 6th. You can watch the game at http://www.ihigh.com/wncc.