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Nijah Cunningham
Nijah Cunningham led the Red Hawks with 12 points.
photo courtesy of Catawba Valley Community College Athletics

Catawba Valley Community College Women’s Basketball Fall in Opening Round of NJCAA Tournament

Catawba Valley Community College women’s basketball team fell to the defending national champions, Kirkwood, 60-42 on Tuesday in the first round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division 2 Tournament. The event is being held at the SC4 Fieldhouse on the campus of St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron, Michigan.

The Red Hawks started off slow, allowing Kirkwood to hit an opening three point shot. CVCC took the lead with 4:43 left to go in the first quarter on an Keziah Soogrim layup to make the score 10-9. After a Kirkwood miss and Soogrim rebound, Nijah Cunningham scored on a layup almost 50 seconds later to give the Red Hawks a 12-9 advantage. However, Kirkwood would allow only Rylie Hogg free throw for the remainder of the quarter as they ended the final 3:54 on a 7-1 run.

Both team struggled getting going in the second quarter. The first points of the quarter came nearly a minute and a half in when Alexia Cunningham hit a free throw. However, the Red Hawks wouldn’t score their first points of the quarter from the field until a Cunningham layup with only a minute remaining in the half. By that point, Kirkwood had jumped out to a 26-20 advantage. Kirkwood would add a basket with under 40 seconds left to have a 28-20 lead at the break.

The Red Hawks scored the first four points of the second half and held Kirkwood to zero-of-six shooting from the field in nearly the first four minutes of the quarter, but still were down by four until the first made shot by Kirkwood. That would be the closest the Red Hawks would get the rest of the way.

Cunningham led the Red Hawks in scoring with 12 points on five-of-eight shooting from the field. Hogg was the only other CVCC player to score in double digits as she had 11 points.

The NJCAA Division 2 women’s basketball tournament has a consolation round, and as such, CVCC will continue to compete in Michigan.  The Red Hawks, the number 14 seed in the tournament, will face the number 11 seed, Niagara County Community College, Wednesday at 3pm.