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Casper cools off Lady Wolves

SALINA, Kan. – The nationally-ranked No. 3 Co-Lin Lady Wolvesstruggled on offense and dropped a 66-56 decision to the Casper(Wy.) Lady Thunderbirds Wednesday afternoon in the first round ofthe 2010 NJCAA Women’s National Basketball Tournament.

Casper improved to 32-3 and Co-Lin fell to 28-2. The Lady Wolveswere seeded fifth in the tourney and Casper was 12th.

In today’s consolation bracket game at the Bicentennial Center, theLady Wolves face Lincoln Trail, Ill. at 2 p.m. Casper facesdefending tournament champion Central Arizona at 8 p.m. in thequarterfinals. Central Arizona whipped Lincoln Trail 83-61yesterday in the final opening round game.

Gulf Coast (Fla.) of Panama City advanced to Friday’s semifinals asthe Lady Commodores (30-1) downed Monroe, N.Y. 74-64 Wednesday.Gulf Coast meets Labette, Kan., tomorrow. Labette beat Midland,Texas 68-58 yesterday.

A minute before halftime, Co-Lin led by 5 points but Casper went ona 6-0 run to take a 28-27 lead into the dressing room. NadiaCollins missed a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left that couldhaven tied or given the Wolves a halftime lead.

For the game, Co-Lin only made 13 of 24 free throw attempts. TheWolves shot an ice-cold, 37 percent from the field and made justone of 15 shots from behind the arc.

“Right before halftime, we kind of started playing better,” saidCo-Lin head women’s coach Gwyn Young. “I don’t know what happened.We stood around and didn’t move the ball. It was a struggle thewhole game. We were one of 15 from 3-point range. We tried takingit inside. It was a real bad offensive night.

“The free throws were really critical,” Young added. “That hurt us.You can’t score and you can’t press like you want to. You get alead and you would like to move it out. You have to take advantagewhen you get the opportunity.”

In the second half, Co-Lin claimed a 40-36 lead on a jumper byNadia Collins but Casper refused to wilt. The T-birds forged a49-43 lead on a trey by Lindsey Fearing and Co-Lin neverrecovered.

Juliana Paunovic, a 6-foot sophomore from Queensland, Australia,directed the victory with 22 points. Lindsey Fearing, a 5-8freshman guard from Cheyenne, Wy., sacked 16 points, including 4 of9 from 3-point range.

On the backboards, Samira VanGrinsven, a 6-2 sophomore from TheNetherlands, pulled down 9 rebounds for Casper.

“Defensively, we played well enough to win the ballgame,” saidYoung. “We missed about three or four in a row under the basket.You have to play your game and that’s what hurt us. We didn’t playany phase of it.”

Co-Lin got 19 points from Rachel Vigers and 13 from Brandi Simmons.Latoria Holder led the rebounding effort with 9 rebounds.