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Blue Dragons Roll by NMJC Into NJCAA Semifinals


By Hutchinson CC Sports Information


CASPER, Wyoming – The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team remained perfect in the quarterfinal round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament on Friday.

With all five starters scoring in double figures and closing the game on a 17-0 run, the top-seeded Blue Dragons rolled by eighth-seeded New Mexico Junior College 76-45 to advance to the NJCAA national semifinals at the Ford Wyoming Center.


Hutchinson is 7-0 all-time in the national quarterfinals. The Blue Dragons posted their second-largest margin of victory in a national tournament of 31 points.

The Blue Dragons matched the second-best start and second-longest winning streak in program history at 35-0. Hutchinson will play 20th-seed Eastern Arizona in Saturday’s first semifinal at 5 p.m. CT (4 p.m. Casper time). New Mexico, which eliminated Hutchinson in the 2019 national semifinals, ended its season at 27-7.

Hutchinson’s offense came to life after three-straight games of scoring in the 50s.

Kiki Smith hit a 3-pointer just 1:48 into the first quarter – she didn’t score until the fourth quarter on Wednesday against Cochise – to a 13-5 lead 5 minutes into the game. The Dragons led 19-13 after one quarter and increased the lead 37-21 at halftime, holding New Mexico to eight points in the second quarter.

Shooting 53.8 percent in the third quarter, the Dragons had leads as large as 28 at 57-29 after an Akaysha Muggeridge 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining in the third quarter. New Mexico outscored Hutchinson 16-2 over the next 5 minutes, 16 seconds to pull within 14 points.

The Blue Dragons closed out the Thunderbirds with a 17-0 run, holding New Mexico scoreless for the final 8 minutes, 18 seconds.

Hailey Jackson led five Blue Dragons scoring in double figures with 23 points and three rebounds. Jackson was 9 of 14 shooting and 5 of 7 from the foul line. Jackson scored nine points in Hutchinson’s 18-8 second quarter.

Monae Duffy posted her fourth double-double of the season and 13th of her career with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Duffy helped the Blue Dragons to a decisive 47-29 rebounding advantage.

Smith became just the second freshman and fifth overall Blue Dragon to score 600 points in one season after a 16-point performance. Smith was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. She added four rebounds and two steals.

Journey Armstead had 10 points with three assists. Muggeridge had 10 points, a career-high-tying eight rebounds and six assists.

The Blue Dragons shot 48.3 percent (29 of 60) for the game. The Dragons were 6 of 21 from 3-point range and 12 of 20 from the foul line. The Dragons had 11 turnovers.

Pania Davis led New Mexico with 10 points.

The Blue Dragons held New Mexico 31 points under its 76 point-per-game team scoring average. The Thunderbirds shot 29.1 percent (16 of 55), going 3 of 21 from 3-point range and 10 of 14 from the foul line. New Mexico had 14 turnovers.

Leading 6-5 midway through the opening quarter, the Blue Dragon scored on three-straight possessions, getting field goals from Muggeridge, Jackson and Duffy, to build a 12-5 lead with 5:30 to play in the quarter. The Thunderbirds pulled within 13-9, but that challenge was answered with a Smith 3-pointer with 2:23 to play for a 16-9 lead. A Duffy 3-pointer upped the lead to 19-11. The Dragons led 19-13 after 10 minutes.

Davis scored to pulled the Thunderbirds within 19-15. The Dragons were able to double that four-point lead with buckets from Jackson and Armstead to lead 23-15 with 6:34 to go. Nuria Estrade hit a 3 for the Thunderbirds to cut the deficit to five, but Jackson answered again with a layup and three-point play for 28-18 lead with 4:20 remaining in the half. Those plays sparked a 9-0 run which was capped by another Jackson bucket to build a 32-18 lead with 2:30 to go. Smith capped the quarter with a 3-pointer at the 58 second mark and the Dragons led 37-21 at halftime.

The Dragons earned their first 20-point lead when Armstead’s layup with 6:51 to go in the third quarter gave the Dragons a 44-23 lead. Smith hit a 3-pointer with 5:45 left for a 49-25 lead. A Muggeridge jumper upped the lead to 51-27 with 4:40 to go. Muggeridge drained a 3-pointer with 3:34 left for a 57-31 Hutchison lead.

New Mexico cut the Dragon lead to 58-39 after three quarters and drew within 59-45 after a Filipa Calisto bucket with 8:04 to play. The Blue Dragons regained control with a 17-0 run. The Dragon defense held New Mexico scoreless over the final 8:04 as the Thunderbirds went 0 for 7 with five turnovers over that span.

GAME NOTES – The Blue Dragons are now 22-12 all-time in the NJCAA Tournament. … The Dragons are now 3-2 against New Mexico, including 1-1 in the tournament. … The 35-0 start and 35-game win streak tie for the program’s second-best start and second-longest win streak in team history. … Kiki Smith extended her streak of games with a 3-pointer to 19. … Hutchinson’s largest margin of victory in NJCAA Tournament history was 33, a 75-42 win over Meridian in the 2012 tournament opening round. … This was the 14th time this season the Blue Dragons held an opponent to less than 30 percent shooting. … Smith moved past Brittany Dietz into eighth place on the single-season 3-point list with 93. … Monae Duffy moved past Jackie Patterson into fifth place on the career rebounds list with 548. … Hailey Jackson moved from 22nd to 13th on the all-time freshman scoring list with 444 points. She is tied for 13th with Alysse Barlow (2010-12).