Lady Busters seeking redemption, semifinals

3/3/2014

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

By J. LEVI BURNFIN

lburnfin@gctelegram.com

To reach their highest point of the season — the Region VI semifinals — the Garden City Community College Lady Broncbusters will have to beat the team that knocked the Lady Busters down to their lowest point of the season, the Dodge City Lady Conqs.

It was just 10 days ago when the then two-win in conference play Lady Conquistadors came into the Perryman Athletic Complex on Feb. 22 and beat the Lady Busters 69-61.

Up to that point, the Lady Conqs had not beaten another conference opponent outside of winless Colby, and had been routed by the Lady Busters, 83-60, on Jan. 29.

So, at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Koch Arena in Wichita during the Region VI quarterfinals, the Lady Busters will be looking for a little bit of redemption.

"No question," head coach Nick Salazar said in a phone interview on Monday. "I think our team is very embarassed that we lost to them."

The Lady Conqs parlayed the win in Garden City to a 73-67 upset over the Jayhawk East's second seed, Coffeyville on Saturday, with a loss to Hutchinson sandwiched in between.

"I think they were able to take whatever confidence that (win in Garden City) gave them and win in Coffeyville," Salazar said.

Meanwhile, the Lady Busters hit the rock bottom with the loss to Dodge City and took off running, beating Barton in Great Bend three days later and handling Labette (the East's sixth seed) on Saturday despite being without Zantaya Davis, the Busters' best rebounder and post defender.

"They're (Dodge City) playing well, but I don't think, if we play as well as we're capable of playing, I don't think they can play with us."

The Busters proved it in their demolition of the Lady Conqs in Dodge City, dominating the glass, 67-38, for the 23-point win.

"We've got to be us," Salazar said of the rubber match. "The first matchup we were us, jumping out to a lead, getting out of fast breaks and wearing them down."

The Conqs rely on outside shooting from a trio of shooters — Kelli Tolar, who is averaging 18 points per game, Azaria Nave, 12.5 ppg, and Keiwanna Patterson, 7.1 ppg.

Tolar has hit 90-of-214 3-pointers (42 percent), fourth-best percentage in the KJCCC.

Nave, meanwhile, has cashed in on 53 of 131 (41 percent), and hit seven treys against the Busters in the loss in Dodge City.

When the Lady Conqs beat the Busters on Feb. 22, Dodge City hit 9 of 16. But it was the Busters' overall defense that led to the loss, Salazar said.

"I think we really just have to be more conscious on the defensive end of the floor and guard," the first-year coach said. "I think we've got to guard with more passion than we did."

The Busters will be trying to reach the Region VI semis for the third-straight season. They lost to Independence, 71-58, in the semis in 2012, and fell to Cowley, 68-52, in 2013.

Meanwhile, the Lady Conqs are playing for their first trip to the semifinals since 2004, when they beat Colby 63-56 and lost to Seward County 64-38 in the region championship.

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Probable Starters:

Dodge City

G--Tara Whipple, 5-6, Fr. (1.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg); Azaria Nave, 5-5, Fr. (12.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg); Kelli Tolar, 5-8, So. (18.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg).

F--Alejandra Esparza, 6-1, Fr. (4.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg); Kesha Buckner, 5-8, So. (11.1 ppg, 12.4 rpg).

Garden City

G--Shauqunna Collins, 5-5, So. (14.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg); Loysha Morris, 5-7, Fr. (8.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg); Allegria Chisom, 5-10, So. (7.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg).

F--Sandra Davis, 6-1, So. (9.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg); Zantaya Davis, 6-2, So. (6.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg).

Team Stats DCCC GCCC

PPG 75.3 65.8

PPG Allowed 75.1 63.4

3Pt% 34% 30%

FT% 67% 63%

RPG 48.1 37.5

APG 17.7 9.7

TO/pg 14.6 19.5

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