Freshman Natalie Harmata grabs a first-half offensive rebound in MCC’s 68-56 loss at home Friday. Freshman Natalie Harmata grabs a first-half offensive rebound in MCC’s 68-56 loss at home Friday.

Second-half defensive letdown by MCC women opens door for Western Nebraska win


Freshman Natalie Harmata grabs a first-half offensive rebound in MCC’s 68-56 loss at home Friday. Freshman Natalie Harmata grabs a first-half offensive rebound in MCC’s 68-56 loss at home Friday.

The Western Nebraska Community College took advantage of a second-half defensive letdown Friday by McCook Community College and went on to a 68-56 win at the Peter and Dolores Graff Center.

After holding the Cougars to 26.7 percent shooting in the first half, WNCC shot 54.5 percent in the second half.

“I thought we played a really solid first half defensively,” said MCC Coach Brandon Pritchett. “It wasn’t great execution, but we played together. Allowing 26 points in the first half to a team that’s averaging 72 points per game is a solid defensive effort.”

MCC led at the half 28-26 but Western Nebraska took a lead after the third quarter 47-36. MCC cut the gap to 53-49 with 5:25 remaining in the game but couldn’t get any closer.

“In the second half came around we made a few plays and then went away from our game plan offensively and just didn’t take good team shots,” said Pritchett. “We have to play together. We have weapons but when we’re not all playing together it’s hard to get those pieces in the right spot to make plays.”

Western shot 38.5 percent for the game, went three-for-16 from distance (18.8 percent) and went 25 of 43 from the free-throw line (58.1 percent). WNCC outrebounded MCC 47-40.

“That was a really good Western Nebraska we competed with,” said Pritchett.

Western improves to 12-7, and 1-0 in the South standings.

MCC shot 32.8 percent for the game, made three of 13 3-pointers and went 13 of 19 from the line (68.4 percent.)

Vanessa Jurewicz (sophomore, Stockholm, Sweden) led MCC with 17 points. Itziar Aransay Badia (sophomore, El Prat de Llobregat, Spain) added nine points and Natalie Harmata, (freshman, Sydney, Australia) scored eight points.

Gemma Gruettner Bacoul (freshman, Berlin, Germany) paced the way for MCC with eight rebounds. Harmata grabbed seven.

The MCC women go to 5-13 on the season, 1-2 in Region IX South.

Next up for the ladies is a Nebraska Community College Athletic Conference game at North Platte. Tipoff is at 5 p.m.

“That will be a tough game up there, it always is,” said Pritchett.

Mid-Plains Community Colleges will be doing a promotion for the North Platte games. Stocking hats embroidered with the MCC logo will be available for the first 25 fans to attend Tuesday’s doubleheader.

For all the up-to-date information on MCC women’s basketball this season and all sports including schedules, statistics, rosters and photos, please visit the official website of MCC Athletics at mccindians.com



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