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After a six-year hiatus, the South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) women’s basketball team is heading back to the postseason.

Two SPSCC women's basketball players on the court
The SPSCC women’s basketball team will play its first postseason game since 2016 when they face undefeated Lane Community College in the opening round of the NWAC Tournament. Photo credit: Grant Clark

The field for the 16-team Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament was revealed on Sunday, March 13 with the Clippers receiving the No. 4 seed in the South Bracket where they will face top-seeded Lane Community College in the first round on Saturday, March 19 at the Walt Price Student Fitness Center on the campus of Everett Community College.

Tipoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. with the winner playing the winner of No. 2 Spokane Community College (14-9) and No. 3 Everett (12-12) on Sunday, March 20 in a quarterfinal matchup. NWAC women’s semifinals will take place on Saturday, March 26 with the championship game on Sunday, March 27.

SPSCC (11-8 overall, 7-5 conference) will look to do something no team has been able to do this season – defeat Lane College as the Titans bring a perfect 26-0 record into the postseason. Lane, which has made 7 NWAC title game appearances since 2005 with 5championships, has won 33 consecutive games, last losing on April 28, 2021 to Clackamas Community College (82-75), and is 37-1 over the last two seasons.

The playoff showdown marks a rematch from the regular season between the two squads. The Titans knocked off the Clippers in Olympia, 82-59, on December 4 to snap SPSCC’s season-opening three-game winning streak. The Clippers, who were without leading scorer Sharay Trotter in the first meeting, were led by Kayla Jackson’s 15 points and Jennie Goldsberry’s 14 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Freshman Payten Foster for SPSCC hold the basketball on the court
Freshman Payten Foster has been one of the most consistent players for the Clippers this season, ranking among the team leaders in scoring, rebounds and steals. Photo credit: Grant Clark

South Puget Sound Community College is making its first appearance in the NWAC Tournament since 2016. That year, the Clippers were the No. 4 seed out of the West Region, losing to Wenatchee Valley, the top seed out of the East Region, 72-36, in the first round.

SPSCC’s last NWAC tournament victory came in 2008 when they knocked off Umpqua, 77-63, in the opening round. The Clippers have made eight all-time tournament appearances, holding a 4-13 record. In addition to 2008 and 2016, the Clippers also made trips to the playoffs in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2009.

The Titans have advanced to the tournament 18 previous times, winning NWAC titles in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2016 and finishing as runner-ups in 2005 and 2015.

The Clippers head into the postseason following one of their best wins on the year as they knocked off Pierce College, 64-45, on the road in their regular season finale on March 9. Jackson was spectacular against the Raiders, scoring a career-high 27 points while sinking seven 3-pointers with just one turnover.

Trotter added 10 points in the win, scoring double digits for the 7th consecutive game and the 15th time in 17 games this season. Trotter averaged 16 points a game during the regular season, placing her 8th in the NWAC in scoring this year. Trotter, who was also 4th in the conference in steals at 3.5 per game, has turned up her defensive intensity the last 7 as she has a combined 32 steals during the stretch, including 4 games with 5 or more steals, highlighted by an eight-steal outing in a win over West Region runner-up Centralia College.

SPSCC women's basketball player blocking an opponent on the court
Freshman post Jennie Goldsberry finished the regular season averaging double figures in both scoring and rebounding. Photo credit: Grant Clark

Trotter is one of four SPSCC players averaging 10 or more points this season. She is joined by Goldsberry (11.9 points per game), Jackson (11.2 ppg) and Payten Foster (10.8 ppg)

Lane, regular season champions of the South Region, has the NWAC’s top-ranked offense, scoring 92.3 points a game, and the conference’s fifth-best scoring defense, surrendering 54.3 points a game.

Sierra Scheppele, who scored a game-high 21 points in the win over SPSCC during the regular season, paces the Titans in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game, which places her fourth in the NWAC. The 5-foot-4 freshman guard has been absolutely deadly from long range this year, hitting 50 percent (108 of 216) of her 3s this season.

Scheppele is one of six players to average double digits for the Titans. She is followed by Bella Hamel (14.5 ppg), Emma McKenney (14.4 ppg), Addi Melone (11.6 ppg), Maddie Bertsch (10.4 ppg) and Kendra McAninch (10.4 ppg).

The NWAC Women’s Basketball Tournament will be streamed live on the NWAC Sports Network.

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