Wednesday, March 21, 2018
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Kirkwood Womens Basketball

Kirkwood - Womens Basketball

No. 2 KCC women roll at national tourney

HARRISON, Ark. - The Kirkwood Eagles jumped to a 24-2 lead after the first quarter Tuesday afternoon and crushed Gogebic Community College, 95-56, in the opening round of the NJCAA Division II national tournament.

The second-ranked Eagles (32-3) will face North Arkansas College (20-6) in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 8 p.m.

North Arkansas is the host school and the entire tournament is being played on its home court at Pioneer Pavilion in Harrison, Ark., where they have a strong following.

"It will be packed here tomorrow night," said Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl. "It will be rocking, because they're pretty excited about them playing. It will be a wild one, I think."

North Arkansas won its regional title to earn a spot in the national tournament as the No. 7 seed.

"They had to win the right to get here and they did," said Muhl. "It's not going to be easy, because they play very well here. I'm telling you, it's going to be packed.

"They had a large crowd today and the gym was full, so I can't imagine at 8 o'clock how many people will crawl out from under the rocks."



Kirkwood - Womens Basketball

KCC gets No. 2 seed for national tourney

Defending national champion Kirkwood was seeded second for the 16-team national tournament in pairings released Tuesday morning by the NJCAA.

Coach Kim Muhl's second-ranked Eagles (31-3) meet No. 15 seed Gogebic Community College (17-13) out of Ironwood, Mich. at 3 p.m. next Tuesday in the first round at Pioneer Pavillion in Harrison, Ark.

A win in the opener would move Kirkwood into the quarterfinals at 8 p.m. on Wednesday against the North Arkansas/Bryant & Stratton, Wisc. winner.



Kirkwood - Womens Basketball

KCC women heading back to nationals

Awal Ajak had to sit and watch her Kirkwood teammates win the national title last year after suffering a torn ACL late in the season, but now she's got a chance to finish her junior college career in style.

Arika Wooldridge nearly quit basketball last year after one unhappy season at Winona State, but now she has a chance to help Kirkwood climb to top of the junior colleges again.

So do all the happy Eagles, who are extremely excited about their opportunity to win back-to-back titles.

The second-ranked Eagles rallied for a 65-52 victory over 12th-ranked NIACC in the regional finals Sunday at Johnson Hall to earn a trip to the NJCAA Division II national tournament March 20-24 in Harrison, Ark.

"I'm extremely happy right now," said Ajak, a sophomore from Des Moines who contributed 10 points Sunday. "Even though I didn't make it last year, I was still happy to be on a team that wanted to make it happen and wanted to win the national title.

"I'm extremely overwhelmed with emotion right now. It was a lot of pain, but it paid off."

Wooldridge, who attended high school at Center Point-Urbana, got hurt near the beginning of the season at Winona State last year and did not like being so far away from home in Minnesota. She thought seriously about quitting the game, but Kirkwood Coach Kim Muhl convinced her to give it another shot and play closer to home and family.



Kirkwood - Womens Basketball

No. 2 Kirkwood women escape SCC

One stunning upset of Kirkwood in the regional tournament last week  was tough to digest when the men's basketball team fell by the  wayside, but two upsets would have been a complete disaster.

Fortunately for Kirkwood, their women's team found a way to survive  and advance Saturday at Johnson Hall.

The second-ranked Eagles escaped a major upset bid by Southeastern,  59-52, in the regional semifinals with their 20th straight win to keep  their national title hopes alive.

Kirkwood (30-3) faces 12th-ranked NIACC (26-6) in the regional finals  Sunday at 1 p.m. at Johnson Hall.

Kirkwood whipped Southeastern by 21 and 25 points during the regular  season, but it was a five-point game at 55-50 with 3:45 left with the  outcome seriously in doubt Saturday.

"I felt like we struggled a lot because we weren't ready to play,"  said sophomore point guard Tayana Wilson. "We thought because we beat  them 20-plus points the first two times we played them that we would  walk in and just do the same thing.



Kirkwood - Womens Basketball

KCC women stroll to 19th win in row

The Kirkwood women's basketball team waltzed to its 19th straight  victory Wednesday night with a 95-31 victory over Southwestern in the opening round of the regional tournament at Johnson Hall.

The second-ranked Eagles (29-3) host Southeastern (22-9) in the semifinals Saturday at 1 p.m., with 12th-ranked NIACC (25-6) facing Iowa Central (17-14) in the other semifinal at 3 p.m. at Johnson Hall.

The regional championship game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at  Johnson Hall, regardless of who's playing.

Mackenzie Jenkins led Kirkwood with 14 points and five rebounds. Tayana Wilson collected 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and  three steals. Olivia Usher and Arika Wooldridge scored 10 points apiece.

Keaundra Washington scored 11 points for Southwestern (8-22).

Kirkwood enjoyed a 50-16 bulge in rebounding and a 56-4 advantage in  bench points. Kirkwood used 13 players in the ballgame and all of them scored at least three points.


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