DODGE CITY, Kansas — It wasn't flawless, but the Cloud County women's basketball team was able to do enough to come away with a 72-62 road victory over Dodge City Community College on Saturday to open up Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) play.
"It's good to start the conference schedule off with a victory and I thought we had some really good moments," said Cloud County head coach, Brett Erkenbrack. "We didn't shoot the ball as well as we usually do, or as well as I think we can, but it's a good win, certainly."
Cloud County (4-0 overall, 1-0 KJCCC) used a big second quarter, where it outscored the Conquistadors (0-3 overall, 0-1 KJCCC) 24-12, and huge nights from sophomores Simone Walker and Erin Alexander to come away with the win.
The T-Birds' frontcourt duo each recorded double-doubles on Saturday as Walker finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Alexander scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed a staggering 21 rebounds (12 offensive rebounds, nine defensive rebounds).
The 21 rebounds by Alexander were one off the school record of 22 she tied against Garden City last season on March 1 — Renee Bruggeman had 22 boards against Colby during the 1989-90 season — and it's the third time in her career that Alexander has had 20 rebounds or more in a game.
Cloud County owned a 41-30 lead at the half, but had to withstand a third-quarter run by Dodge City that saw it cut the lead down to three points at 52-49 with 42 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The T-Birds' countered with a 10-2 run spanning the end of the third quarter and early minutes of the fourth to bump the lead back to double-digits at 62-51, capped by a pair of Alexander free throws with 7:31 remaining. Dodge City didn't inch any closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Up next for Cloud County will be a home matchup against No. 9 ranked Hutchinson Community College, the preseason favorites to win the KJCCC, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
The last time the two KJCCC foes faced each other was on Feb. 16, 2016 when the T-Birds upset the Blue Dragons, 67-57, snapping what was a 132-game win streak at home for Hutchinson that dated back to 2009.
"We're going to have to play tougher (Wednesday)," Erkenbrack said. "Our ability to rebound the basketball is what the game will come down to. They (Blue Dragons) will be ready and we'll be ready. It should be a good ballgame."