By GREG WEBB
LUBBOCK – After a nine-year absence, the Weatherford College women’s basketball team is heading back to the national tournament.
After a 77-71 win over New Mexico Junior College in the regional tournament semifinals Friday in Lubbock, the Lady Coyotes secured a berth in the 2013 National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in Salina, Kan., March 18-23.
Playing for a more favorable seeding in the national tourney and the conference tournament championship on Saturday, the WC women faced Midland College. Enjoying a four-point lead at the half, the Lady Coyotes could not increase the margin on Midland, and the game remained close for the entire second half. After swapping leads in the final 10 minutes, Midland had timely baskets and stops to win the contest, 79-74.
Desiree King was the offensive spark for Weatherford, scoring 23 points. Cleyder Blanco and Johvonna Darrington were forces around the basket, both snagging 10 rebounds. Blanco added 13 points and Darrington put up 11 in the double-double performances.
Itiana Taylor led all rebounders with 13.
Six Lady Coyotes scored in double-figures on Friday, led by Darrington’s 16 points and a perfect 7-of-7 afternoon from the field. Darrington also added 11 rebounds.
The nationals berth is the sixth in school history for the Lady Coyotes, and the fourth under Coach Bob McKinley. Their last Salina appearance was in 2004.
Date, time and opponent for WC’s opening round national tournament game will be announced on Monday. For more information on the national tournament, go to www.njcaa.org.