Lady Riverhawks narrowly miss playoffs for first time in six years
The UCC women’s basketball team entered the nest on the verge of making the NWAACC playoffs. With just four games left in the regular season schedule, the ‘Hawks needed a win against the LBCC Roadrunners. Early in the game the ‘Hawks dominated the Roadrunners and jumped out to a 12-2 lead, shooting 6-8 from the field. The UCC women stretched the lead to 21-4 and ended the first half 43-31. The Riverhawks started the second half like they started the first with a 13-0 run. UCC won the game 84-69. Kyndal Charleston led the Riverhawks with 24 points in the win.
After splitting their next two away games, the Riverhawks prepared to play their final season game needing a win against the Clackamas Cougars to make the playoffs. The ball didn’t bounce the Riverhawks’ way from the start. UCC turned the ball over repeatedly and allowed the Cougars to build an 11-2 run early in the game. Nothing seemed to go right for the ‘Hawks as foul trouble and turnovers put them down 41-24 at the end of the first period. The second half played out the same as the first as the Cougars went on a 17-3 run. The Riverhawks had too many turnovers and gave second-chance rebounds. Clackamas also took advantage of poor perimeter defense to make 13 weakly-contested 3-pointers. The Riverhawks lost 85-56. Rachel Sample led the ‘Hawks with 16 points.
With the UCC loss and a SWOCC win, the Riverhawks were knocked out of playoff contention, missing the NWAACC tournament for only the second time in coach Stricklin’s eighteen year tenure as head coach.
“One of the benefits of participating in college basketball is learning how to deal with adversity. We didn’t handle adversity as well as we needed to reach our potential. When it starts to go bad, that’s when the great teams separate themselves from the good teams. Every game, every team faces adversity. We just didn’t respond very well at times,” coach Dave Stricklin said. When asked about missing the playoffs, Stricklin said, “We do this to win games and be an elite team. It’s disappointing that we won’t get to experience the tournament atmosphere, and it’s a great way to expose the team to scouts from four-year colleges. The tournament is not only a great way to end a season, it also acts like a springboard into the next season.”