Cloud County Women's Basketball Wins 5th Straight, Takes Conference Opener Against Seward County
The final game of a five-game home stand for the Cloud County Community College women's basketball team would see a 10-point halftime deficit erased to tie things up at 52-52 heading into the fourth before a 21-16 edge in the final period for the T-Birds to take a 73-68 decision over Seward County Community College inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Saturday, November 18th.
A fifth-straight win allows Cloud County to remain perfect on their home court this season while improving to 5-1 overall and 1-0 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while Seward County falls for the first time this season to drop to 3-1 overall and 0-1 in the KJCCC.
Plagued again by a slow start that has been a problem all year, CCCC would see the first four points of the game scored by Seward County to fall into a quick two-possession hole as the lead for the Lady Saints would grow to nine at 11-2 and eventually double-digits on a Sanaa Dennis free throw with 6:41 left in the first half. After being held to just one made layup by Braylee Dale through the first four minutes of action, Cloud County would end a 9-0 Seward County run with a pair of Bailey Burns free throws before getting a Maimouna Sissoko layup just 17 seconds later to start to find some offense. The deficit for CCCC would grow to 12 at 18-6 with 4:53 left in the quarter as SCCC would continue to control things on both ends of the floor with Cloud County only able to outscore the Lady Saints 5-4 the rest of the quarter to trail 22-11 at the end of one period.
Points for Seward County in the opening minute of the second would see the Lady Saint lead grow to a game-high 13 at 26-13 and twice more with the following four points being traded back and forth before Cloud County would be able to get to the free throw line to finally start cutting into the deficit. Two made free throws by Burns and Destiny Smith on back-to-back offensive possessions would get the deficit back under 10 for CCCC with just over five minutes left before halftime with the T-Birds able to get back within seven on an offensive rebound and put back by Sissoko. Four straight points from Seward would allow the Lady Saints to push the lead back to 11 at 34-23 with just under three minutes left in the second as things would get back to a 12-point game until a Burns layup to end the half and bring Cloud County back within 10 at 37-27.
The T-Birds would waste no time to start the second in getting back into the contest as a combination of defense and offense would see CCCC score 14 of the first 17 points of the period and be capped off with a made triple from Burns to give Cloud County their first lead of the game at 41-40. Seward County would tie things up on their next possession with a made free throw before seeing the T-Birds reclaim the lead with a Sissoko three-point play along with another layup after a steal by Smith. The Cloud County lead would reach five once more over the final three-plus minutes of the third quarter with Seward County managing to battle back and score the final four points of the quarter at the charity stripe to pull back even at 52 all.
Taking advantage of the opening possession of the fourth, SCCC would score on a layup to reclaim the lead momentarily before allowing Sissoko to get down in the paint for another layup of her own as CCCC would score the next eight points to go up 60-54 with 6:29 left in the game. The advantage would grow to seven on a made free throw from Dale before seeing five quick points for Seward County bring the Lady Saints back within three at 61-58 as the final five-plus minutes would still be up for grabs to determine the game. Cloud County would have a response to push their lead back to six at 64-58 and again at 66-60 with SCCC refusing to go away and let the T-Birds take things down the stretch. Despite the push from Seward County, Cloud County would never allow to get back within a single possession over the final three minutes as defensive pressure would keep the Lady Saints from being able to extend the game.
Outscoring Seward County 46-31 in the second half, Cloud County would shoot just 34.3 percent (23-of-67) from the field in the game and two-of-12 (16.7 percent) from beyond the arc, but make the most of 22 SCCC turnovers which would lead to 24 points for the T-Birds. The Lady Saints would shoot 36.7 percent (22-of-60) from the field and 19.0 percent (four-of-21) from three while managing just 13 points off 22 Cloud County turnovers.
Another massive game from Sissoko would see the sophomore follow up her 17-point, 19-rebound performance on Thursday with a 22-point, 19-rebound game on Saturday which included an eight-for-11 outing at the free throw line while grabbing nine offensive rebounds. Burns would add 19 points and six rebounds for the T-Birds while Dale would also reach double-figures with 13 points and have five rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Seward County had four players reach double-figures and were led by a team-high 19 from Jamia Carter.
A pre-Thanksgiving clash for Cloud County will see the T-Birds hit the road for the first time since November 4th when they head to Coffeyville for a 5:30 PM matchup on Tuesday, November 21st. the game will be the first of four ranked opponents in the next five games for CCCC, as Coffeyville is off to a 6-1 start this season and ranked number 17 in the country after earning a 72-65 win over Pratt in their KJCCC opener on Saturday afternoon.