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Lady Warriors face tall order in stopping CAC

By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
March 22, 2001
SALINA, Kan. To stay alive in the NJCAA Women's National Basketball Championship, the Lady Warriors of East Central Community College will have to beat the team that's been to the national tournament the most times and has the most wins in it.
The Central Arizona College Vaqueras are making their 21st appearance in the national tournament.
They won in 1989 and 1998, finished second in 1999, and placed third in 1997. They were sixth last year.
ECCC and Central Arizona tangle in today's consolation bracket at 10 a.m. The game may be heard on 98.3 FM, WSSI-Carthage.
The Vaqueras, who were the No. 2 seed entering this year's tournament, were giving up just 49 points per game before Tuesday's stunning 58-55 loss to Cincinnati (Ohio) State in which they blew a 13-point lead over the final 12 minutes.
Central Arizona shot just 27.8 percent (22-of-79) from the floor in the loss and was a dismal 1-of-16 (6.25 percent) from 3-point range.
The 22-6 Lady Warriors will face a tall order in the 29-3 Vaqueras. Of the 11 players on Laursen's roster, seven are at least six feet tall.
Hanna Statsenka is a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Minsk, Bulus, while Tiffany Diggins (7.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) is a 6-foot-4 sophomore from Des Moines, Wash.
Statsenka, however, has not played in the last two months.
Throw in 6-foot-2 Cathy Tommaney (6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg), 6-foot-1 Nakia Holmes (9.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 6-foot Felecia Pitts (6.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg), 6-foot Shala Reese (13.0 ppg, 10.3 rpg), and 6-foot Katy Wilson for good measure.
Ida Dotson, a 5-foot-8 guard, leads the team in scoring with 15.7 ppg. KeKe Strambler adds 14.8 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Maria Eriksson averages 6.9 ppg.
The Vaqueras' victims during the regular season include South Mountain (100-33 and 100-32), Glendale (90-57), Mesa (80-44), Pima (83-28 and 69-29), Kilgore, Texas, (88-50), Cochise (89-34), Scottsdale (81-37), Northland Pioneer (78-40), and Phoenix (81-54).
Obviously, there's no rest for the weary.
Only four of the 11 Vaqueras are from Arizona,as that state doesn't bind itself to the same district limitations MACJC members do. Two are from Texas, two from Washington, one from Oregon, and two are from other countries.
On the other hand, ECCC has just two active players from outside the Magnolia State.
ECCC and Central Arizona met in the 1994 national tournament with the Vaqueras taking a 78-71 opening-round win. The 94 Lady Warriors went on to finish seventh that year, beating Casper (Wyo.) 65-58, Truett-McConnell (Ga.), and Independence (Kan.) 71-62.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at mstamper@themeridianstar.com.

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