Lady Dragons win top 10 battle with Saints

Freshman Kalani Purcell posted her eighth double-double of the season as the No. 3 Hutchinson Community College women's basketball team overcame a second-half deficit to defeat No. 9 Seward County 81-71 on Saturday night at the Sports Arena.
The Lady Dragons (22-0, 8-0 Jayhawk West) take a 1 1/2-game lead over the Saints and owns the head-to-head tie-breaker after sweeping the Saints (22-3, 7-2) in the season series.
Hutchinson won its 23rd-consecutive game, which ties for the third-longest win streak in team history and collected its 10th-straight win over the Saints.
The Lady Dragons extended their team-record Sports Arena winning streak to 96 games after trailing at halftime for the third time this season and rallying from seven points down with 17:58 to play in the second half.
Purcell and sophomore Jamie Patrick led the second-half comeback for Hutchinson, which trailed 37-33 at halftime. Purcell had 13 points and eight rebounds and Patrick had 14 points in the final 20 minutes as HCC turned the game around outscoring the Saints 48-34 in the second half.
Purcell finished with 22 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocked shots to lead the Lady Dragons. Purcell jumped up to seventh place in steals for a single season with 81.
Patrick jumped from 12th to ninth on the HCC career scoring list - moving past Amanda Fessenden, Natasha McAtee and Sherry Dishman - with 878 career points. Patrick, who had just two points at halftime, hit 7 of 11 shots overall to finish with 16 points.
Sophomore Briana Starks and freshman Shakira Harding finished with 10 points each. Sophomore Jen'Von'Ta Hill had nine points and seven assists. Sophomore Kiarra Jones had nine points and four boards.
The Lady Dragons hit 32 of 67 total shots (47.8 percent), hitting just 2 of 5 from 3-point range and 15 of 26 from the foul line. HCC out-rebounded Seward County 42-35 and had 12 turnovers.
Seward County put up opponent season-best totals of 37 points in a half (first half), 32 total field goals and 47.8 percent field-goal percentage. The Saints also sank seven 3-point goals, which matches the most against HCC this season.
The Saints shot 26 of 56 overall, 7 of 23 from 3-point range and 12 of 17 from the foul line. Seward County committed 20 turnovers.
Alana Simon hit 10 of 15 field goals to finish with a team-high 22 points. Brianna Scott hit three 3-point goals to score 19 points. Korina Chapman had 13 points.
HCC trailed 8-4 in the first half before the Lady Dragons reeled off eight-straight points to lead 12-8 after a Jones three-point play after being fouled on a putback.
Trailing 21-19, Harding drilled a 3-pointer to regain the lead for the Lady Dragons. Back-to-back baskets by Starks and Hill upped the lead to 26-21 and a Harding layoff of a Purcell steal and subsequent spectacular assist pushed the HCC lead to 30-24 with 4:35 remaining in the half.
HCC's offense then went dormant for the remainder of the half, missing 6 of its final seven attempts of the first half. Seward County, which shot 50 percent in the first 20 minutes, closed the opening half on a 13-3 run, holding HCC without a point for the final 2:29 of the half. Scott hit a long 2-pointer with 1:13 to play to give Seward County a 37-33 lead, which was the halftime score.
Scott's jumper at the 17:58 mark upped the Seward County margin to 42-35. The deficit was still six points with 15:44 remaining. Purcell scored seven-straight points to pull the Lady Dragons within 48-47 with 14:22 to play. A Patrick jumper tied the game at 51-all. The teams then traded baskets at 53-all before HCC took the lead for good at 57-55 after a Harding layoff with 9:52 to play in the second half.
Chapman hit a 3-pointer with 7:43 to play to pull the Saints within 61-60. Hill sank two free throws with 7:29 to play and then Patrick hit a high-arching 3-pointer at the 6:39 mark for a 66-60 lead.
Seward County drew within 70-67 with 3:04 to play, but that was as close as the Saints got. The Lady Dragons closed the half with an 11-4 run to close the game out. The Lady Dragons shot 59.4 percent (19 of 32) in the second half.
Hutchinson travels to Garden City at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. The game is a make-up after the originally schedule took a hit during last Wednesdays' snowstorm.
GAME NOTES - Seward County is the 124th-straight opponent to shoot less than 50 percent. … HCC is now 26-8 vs. ranked teams under head coach John Ontjes. … HCC is now 41-39 vs. Seward County. … Jamie Patrick moves into 10th place in career field goals with 320. … Jen'Von'Ta Hill is alone in ninth place for career steals with 134. … This was only the third time for HCC to allow a team to shoot better than 40 percent. … Jamie Patrick has scored in double figures in 20-straight games. … Jen'Von'Ta Hill had her 10th game of seven or more assists.