Cloud County Women Struggle Early in Home Loss to Independence

Cloud County Women Struggle Early in Home Loss to Independence

A slow start mixed with a season-low two three-point field goals, the Cloud County Community College women's basketball team would trail 39-20 at the half and never recover in an 87-67 home loss to Independence Community College inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Tuesday, November 23rd.

Falling to 4-4 overall, Cloud County is now 1-2 in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference play while the Pirates improved to 7-1 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the KJCCC.

Buckets on back-to-back possessions to begin the game would push the T-Birds out to their largest lead of the game at 5-0 just 38 seconds into the contest before seeing ICC respond with seven straight points of their own to take their first lead of the game two minutes later. The two teams would then trade leads to make it 9-8 in favor of Independence before a 6-2 run by the Pirates would give Independence their largest lead of the opening quarter at 15-10. Cloud County would respond with three straight points from freshman Jessi Brummett by using a layup and splitting a pair of free throws on their next offensive possession before giving up a layup as the quarter would end to allow ICC to lead 17-13 heading into the second.

A stagnant T-Bird offense in the second period would see Independence open the quarter by scoring the first nine points of the quarter while holding CCCC scoreless for over four minutes until a Kennedy Becker free throw broke the drought to get Cloud County on the board. The Pirates would continue their run by scoring six of the next seven points to double up the T-Birds 28-14 as the first Cloud County field goal in the quarter would not come until the 4:27 mark. After seeing things balloon to a 22-point deficit at 39-17, CCCC would score the final three points of the quarter with Rori Cox accounting for all three points to get things back under 20 at 39-20 heading into intermission.

Using a 6-2 run to open the second half, the T-Birds would appear to be building some momentum to try and cut into the Independence lead briefly before seeing the Pirates connect on back-to-back triples to push their lead back out to 21 at 47-26. CCCC would then use a 7-1 run to get back within 15 once more at 48-33 following an Olivia Collier-Tuipulotu layup, but 10 straight points from ICC would put a quick end to the potential rally as things would again appear to be getting out of reach. The final three minutes of the third would see back-and-forth action lead to an 8-6 scoring advantage for Cloud County as the T-Birds would manage to keep things from getting any worse despite being left with a 64-41 deficit with 10 minutes left in the game.

Another quick start to a quarter by CCCC would see the T-Birds use a Te Araroa Sopoaga trey and two Brummett free throws spark a 8-2 run by Cloud County before being turned back yet again by Independence. The Pirates would respond with a 7-2 spurt that would keep things at a 20-plus point deficit for the T-Birds as Cloud County would be unable to get any closer than 18 points in the final seven minutes of action.

Both teams would take advantage of second-chance points, with ICC holding a 22-17 advantage in the category thanks in part to 21 offensive rebounds compared to 17 for CCCC. Points off turnovers would play a key role in the final margin as Independence would hold a 23-12 advantage as well as a 14-4 advantage in fast break points. As a team, Cloud County would shoot 34.3 percent (23-for-67) from the field and 19-of-31 (61.3 percent) from the charity stripe to go along with their two-for-14 (14.3 percent) performance from beyond the arc.

Scoring a team-high 17 points to go along with 11 rebounds would be Kay Hauata Phillips while Becker would finish with 11 rebounds of her own and eight points to finish two points shy of a double-double. Cox would add nine points and five rebounds while Sopoaga would finish as the only other player with Phillips in double-figures by scoring 11 points. Independence would get a game-high 18 points from Miriam Bazylewicz off the bench while Maisa Marcal would be one of three starters in double-figures with 17.

What's Next?
Cloud County will look to snap a two-game skid on Saturday when they cap off a three-game homestand with a 2 p.m. non-conference tip-off against Northeast Community College. Northeast is now 3-5 overall following a 64-54 home loss to Southeast Community College on Tuesday night and will be playing just their second road contest of the season on Saturday.