Vaquera Athletics - Basketball
Vaqueras' quest for NJCAA national title ends in tough 73-50 loss vs. Odessa (TX)
SALINA, KS – For the second time this season, Odessa (TX) College scored a double-digit victory over Central Arizona College, this time in the 2007 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
On Saturday evening the #3 Wranglers (32-2) combined a strong offense with a solid defense to defeat Central Arizona 73-50 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina, Kansas.
The #5 Vaqueras, who won the NJCAA crown two years ago and finished third last season, still had an outstanding season in 2006-07, taking second place in the nation while finishing the year with a 33-3 overall mark.
The loss snipped Central’s 21-game winning streak, but the Vaqueras will enter 2007-08 with a 66-game Arizona Community College Athletic Conference victory string.
The 16-team NJCAA National Tournament began on Tuesday and lasted until Saturday’s finale. Central Arizona College played four games in four days beginning on March 21, while Odessa played the first two days of the tourney, had off on Thursday, then finished up with the semifinals and finals on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Despite the loss, Central Arizona College will get some national television exposure on Monday evening when College Sports Television (CSTV), a subsidiary of CBS, airs the game at 5 p.m. (PDT).
The Vaqueras reached the NJCAA for the 26th time in their history under head coach Lin Laursen this year by blasting through the regular season with a 30-2 overall record. Central Arizona posted its third straight 22-0 ACCAC mark, running its victory string of league games to 66 in a row that began with the start of the 2004-05 campaign.
Freshman center Ashley Sours (Glendale, AZ/Cactus) and freshman guard Heather Oliver (Victoria, Australia/Wangratta) each were named to the NJCAA Championship All-Tournament Team.
Central Arizona College finished the 2006-07 season by capturing their fifth straight Region I Championship and 20th title since the 1985-86 campaign. Central Arizona also closed out the regular season with a 72-48 thumping of Arizona Western, finishing the year with its third straight 22-0 campaign. It marked the Vaqueras third straight ACCAC title, 24th in the last 26 years, and 28th all-time under head coach Lin Laursen.
The Vaqueras also reached the 30-win plateau for the 19th time with Laursen at the helm and cracked the 20-victory barometer for the 30th time.
Laursen - who is second all-time to University of Tennessee head coach Pat Summit in collegiate coaching victories - has ratcheted her winning total to 937. Her 937-144 career mark at Central Arizona boasts an .867 winning percentage, while she has amassed a stunning 606-32 (.950) record in the ACCAC since 1974-75.
Consider this amazing stat – 12 of Laursen’s league losses occurred during the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons. She has never had a sub-.500 conference record and has been victimized by regular-season setbacks vs. conference foes just 10 times since 1985-86.
The ACCAC recognized the dominance of the Vaqueras by selecting Laursen the 2006-07 ACCAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year and Oliver the ACCAC Rookie of the Year.