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Casper College women's team waits to find out who it will play at NJCAAs
CASPER COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Casper College women's team waits to find out who it will play at NJCAAs

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Casper College Girls Basketball

Casper College's Marija Bakic grabs a rebound while surrounded by Central Wyoming College players during their game Jan. 29 at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.

For the second time in three years, the Casper College women’s basketball team is the Region IX champion.

The 15th-ranked T-Birds got two free throws from freshman guard Natalia Otkhmezuri with 3.6 seconds remaining and survived a last-second shot by Western Nebraska Community College for a 66-64 victory Saturday at Swede Erickson Thunderbird Gym.

“I’m just so proud of this team,” head coach Dwight Gunnare said Sunday. “They played their tails off all weekend and they beat a really good team (Saturday). I was a little concerned when we were down six (54-48), but they kept their composure.”

Limited to just eight healthy players because of injuries, the T-Birds (29-3) battled back to take a 58-54 lead with 4 minutes remaining. The No. 2 Cougars (29-2) tied the game at 64-all on a three-point play before Otkhmezuri drove to the basket and drew a foul late in the shot clock.

Otkhmezuri and sophomore Mya Jones had 14 points apiece to lead the T-Birds and Raquel Ferrer-Bernad added 12. They also got a combined 19 points off the bench from Kammie Ragsdale, Reka Soos, Aspen Cotter and Emily Achter in winning their 15th consecutive game.

The T-Birds now advance to the NJCAA Division I Championships on March 16-21 in Lubbock, Texas. They will find out their opponent and when they play in the selection show on Monday morning.

Follow sports editor Jack Nowlin on Twitter @CASJackN

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Sports Editor

Jack Nowlin returned to the Star-Tribune in 2007 after eight years covering Michigan State University athletics. A Wyoming native, and a graduate of Jeffrey City High School and the University of Wyoming, Jack serves as the Star-Tribune’s sports editor.

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