Mark Perez-Krywany

Sports Editor

  Lorain County Community College is going to have to arrange two buses instead of one to go to the Region XII Championship game, because the LCCC’s 6-21 women’s basketball team is going to be joining the 23-5 men’s basketball team at Ohio Christian University after their 63-35 domination over 0-23 Hocking College.

The women’s basketball team, just like the men’s team will be facing the Columbus State Community College Cougars. The women’s team for Columbus State has lost five out of their last six games to go along with their 11-13 record and their only win in that stretch was against the Lady Commodores 77-55. The Lady Commodores record against Columbus since the 2013-14 season is 0-10 and have been outscored by 40.1 points per game (PPG).

“I think it’s great,” head coach of the women’s basketball team, Vince Granito said. “I think we have an opportunity now, we are playing against Columbus State.”

Coach Granito also described the players emotions when they found out that they were going to the playoffs.

“They were pretty happy,” He said. “They were really happy for the fact that they qualify. We didn’t qualify last year so that is a big step up that this year were able to qualify.”

The difference between Columbus State from the first time and last time they met is that they are two players short. Guard Malia Williams, who played one minute in the first meet for Columbus State and forward Stephanie Newell, who scored 17 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and four steals against the Lady Commodores in the first meet of the 2017-18 season, in which the game ended 80-55.

If the women’s team defeats Columbus State, they will advance to the District Championship, but unlike the men’s team, who will host the District Championship if they beat Columbus State men’s basketball team, the women’s team will not have a home game for their District Championship.

They will also have the task of defending the reigning NJCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, Destiny Wooten, who has averaged 27.5 PPG, while shooting 40 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from the 3-point line. Wooten is currently 21st in the nation in PPG with 20.5 PPG. She has been on fire, but the Cougars have averaged 67.2 PPG in December, 57.7 PPG in January and 50.9 PPG in February; showing a steady decline in point production as the season progressed.

Coach Granito had some comments to say about Wooten when asked about how to guard her.

“She is a good player, but I don’t think that she is an outstanding player,” Granito said.

He also commented on the competition that she and the Cougars face on the tail-end of the season.

“I think a lot of that is from several of the teams that they played during that stretch,” he said.

The Cougars are a top 10 rebounding team and Granito is confident that they will win the rebounding battle.

“Jasmine White had a double-double when we played two weeks ago,” Granito said. “I think their post play is actually their weaker part of their game.”

The Commodores have to guard Wooten, but the Cougars will have to defend Commodores’ guard Angel Blakely, who is averaging 18.4 PPG, which is 30th in the nation in Division III women’s basketball. She is also seventh in free-throws made per game. Mix that with Columbus State’s 6-woman roster, foul trouble could possibly occur. Granito realizes this as well.

The last time we played them, [Columbus State] only had six [players] so I’m assuming that they only have six [players],” Granito said. “If you throw in Hannah’s 16 points a game, that would have been an even game the last time we played them.”

The last time they played Columbus State on February 2, 2018, Commodores’ guard Hannah Oehlstrom played only six minutes before tweaking her ankle. Oehlstrom scored 15 points against Hocking College this past Saturday. According to Granito, she is “good to go.”

The Region XII Championship will be held at Ohio Christian University on February 27, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.