PASCO, Washington – The LBCC Women’s Basketball team ended their 2022-2023 season with a loss in the Sweet 16 round of the NWAC tournament. After reaching the tournament for the first time in more than a decade, the Lady Roadrunners faced the Peninsula Pirates, falling with a final score of 79-76.
LB reached the tournament with a 21-6 record, including 11-5 in conference play. In a game that was well-contested from start to finish, the Roadrunners kept it close to the end. Taking the lead after the first quarter, Linn-Benton lead 21-19. This included 4 points from both Sabrina Albee and Brooklyn Hankwitz, as well as 5 rebounds from Kathleen Hale.
The second quarter saw the Pirates tie the game at the half, while the difference in the game may have been the Beaks’ inability to connect on a three-point attempt in the first half, going 0 for 7 on such shots. While the Roadrunners were outrebounded 20 to 14 in the first half, their superior shooting percentage and fewer turnovers allowed the game to be tied.
It was in the third quarter, however, where the Pirates took the lead for good. The Pirates took the final lead in the contest at 53-51 with 3:42 to play in the third quarter. The Pirates made 3 three-point shots while also wrestling 13 rebounds from the Beaks, while LB made 1 three-point shot and hauled in 9 rebounds. Turnovers being tied at 3 apiece in the third quarter, the 6-point advantage for Peninsula was accounted for entirely by their three-point shooting.
But the Roadrunners did not go away easily, outscoring the Pirates in the fourth quarter and closing the lead to 6 points with a three-point shot from Muriel Jones-Hoisington with 38 seconds to play in the contest, and then to 3 points with a layup and free throw from Hankwitz, who delivered 9 points in the fourth quarter alone.
The stats for the game were incredibly close, with LB taking 70 shots and Peninsula taking 71; both teams made 29 shot attempts. Both teams also attempted 18 free throws. While the Roadrunners forced 16 turnovers while only committing 11, it was the Pirates’ rebounding that afforded them their three-point attempts. Peninsula was able to outrebound LB 43 to 30 for the contest.
The greatest difference, however, was certainly three-point shooting, where the Pirates netted 7 of 19 shot attempts to the Roadrunners’ 2 of 13 shooting. This conferred a 15-point advantage on three-point shooting. Assists also proved to be a factor in the context of the contest as a whole, where Linn-Benton totaled 7 and the Pirates dished out 12.
Sabrina Albee was one of the best performers for the Roadrunners, and she had 10 points, 1 assist and 1 steal. Jayden Ray had 14 points, 2 assists and 1 block; Brooklyn Hankwitz had 17 points and 3 rebounds, while Madison Dutkiewicz had 13 points. Kathleen Hale contributed 3 points,14 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.
While it was certainly the goal of the team to go further in the tournament than the first round, they will be excited to build their team for next year. After not making the tournament for four years, the Roadrunners will hope to make it consecutive years next season and establish a tradition of competing at the highest level.
The Roadrunners enter the offseason and prepare for the 2023-24 NWAC Women’s Basketball season.