By AMELIA VENEZIANO
of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
WALLA WALLA - Walla Walla Community College had a 20-point lead with 50 seconds to go in the first half against Blue Mountain in NWAACC women's basketball action Wednesday night.
But the Timberwolves weren't going to lose this contest without a fight, and went on a 13-2 run in the first five minutes of the second half, getting as close as 54-50 to the defending NWAACC champion Warriors before succumbing, 67-58.
"I'm sure everyone thought it was over at the half," said WWCC head coach Bobbi Hazeltine, who's team ended the first up 33-16. "Except me, because I know (Blue Mountain head coach) Christy Martin, and she lit a fire under them."
Blue Mountain's run was sparked by Stephanie Lopez, who led the Timberwolves with 21 points on the night. Lopez opened scoring for both teams in the first and second halves and sank seven of the 13 points Blue Mountain needed to close to 38-31 with 15 minutes left to play.
The Warriors, at first caught flat-footed by the reinvigorated Timerbwolves, scrambled their defense together to hold off the Pendleton team.
"That was an unbelievable rally," Hazeltine said of Blue Mountain's run. "We could've folded but we didn't."
Martin, a former WWCC player and assistant coach, had hoped to push her team ahead of the Warriors.
"Walla Walla did a really good job of getting us to take shots we shouldn't have taken," Martin said.
The Timberwolves led the Warriors 33-30 in field goal attempts in the first half - but only sank six to WWCC's 11 and didn't managed a 3 on the night.
"They broke each of our players down," Martin said. "They took a team that was averaging 45 percent in field goals and held us to 18 percent in the first half. They were dictating what shots we took."
WWCC's Morgan Jo Wolff had 23 points and four 3s for the Warriors. Sienna Edmunson came off the bench for four second-half points and three rebounds to help hold the Warriors' lead.
The Warriors took control for good with less than three minutes remaining, when Blue Mountain pulled to 54-50.
Shiann Dreadfulwater hit a field goal and free throw and Stevie Humphries sank a two as WWCC pulled ahead with a 13-8 run. DeSales product Caitlin Duncan sealed the deal for WWCC, hitting two free throws with less than 10 seconds to play.
Pleased with the win, Hazeltine was also pleased with her adversary.
"I'm really proud of how far Christy has come," Hazeltine said. "I was really worried about this game because she prepares players as well as any coach I've ever seen. Christy has made Blue Mountain into a contender. I predict they'll be in the tournament this year."
Blue Mountain, now 9-5, faces No. 1-ranked Columbia Basin Saturday.
WWCC, 10-3, travels to Treasure Valley Saturday.
WWCC 67, Blue Mountain 58
BLUE MOUNTAIN (58) - Furlow 6-11 0-0 12, Weaver 0-2 3-4 3, Evans 0-2 3-4 3, Martin 0-1 0-0 0, Van Cleave 4-9 0-0 8, Lopez 7-20 7-12 21, Tells 0-4 0-0 0, McIntyre 3-8 3-3 9, Howerton 0-1 0-0 0, Lovgren 0-0 0-1 0, Totals 22-65 14-22 58.
WALLA WALLA (67) - Dreadfulwater 3-12 3-3 10, Klarich 0-2 2-2 2, Blevins 0-0 0-0 0, Wolff 8-17 2-4 23, Stillar 0-2 1-2 1, Pfefferle 5-11 1-3 12, Duncan 1-6 2-2 4, Humphries 2-3 2-3 6, Edmunson 2-5 2-3 7, Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Jensen 0-3 0-0 0, Totals 22-63 16-22 67.
Halftime score - BMCC 16, WWCC 33. 3-point goals - BMCC none, WWCC 7 (Wolff 4). Total fouls- BMCC 20, WWCC 19. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls-none. Rebounds- BMCC 48 (McIntyre 13), WWCC 43 (Pfefferle 6). Turnovers - BMCC 17, WWCC 16. Assists - BMCC 7 (Lopez 5), WWCC 16 (Wolff 3, Stillar 3).