Hastings, NE -- The Hastings College women's basketball team was able to go the distance without trailing the College of Saint Mary Flames, beating the Flames 86-52 at Lynn Farrell Arena on Wednesday, capped by a double-doble from Mackenzie Willicott (SR/Blue Hill, NE).
The Broncos (14-10, 10-8 GPAC) got off to a great opening sequence, starting the game on a 14-0 run that had Willicott, Sophia Pankratz (JR/Hastings, NE), Gabby Grasso (JR/Omaha, NE), and Taylor Beacom (FR/Papillion, NE) score. The run also spanned nearly four minutes. It was not until the 5:27 mark that CSM's Alyssa Laudato got the Flames onto the board with a layup.
The Flames went on a 6-2 run that started with the Laudato layup, but the Broncos had a quick answer, finishing the half on a 14-3 run to take a 30-9 lead into the second quarter.
Willicott was able to kickstart another great start to the second quarter, spearheading a 9-0 run to get ahead of the Flames 39-9 with 6:24 left in the half. The Flames were able to get three points on a free throw and a shot in the paint, but the Broncos had yet another answer.
The answer came at 4:00 left on the clock, when Willicott drained a three-pointer to get a 8-5 run to end the quarter, giving the Broncos a 47-17 lead at intermission whilst also holding the Flames to single-digits in the second straight quarter.
In the sole quarter where the Flames outscored the Broncos, it was a close game throught the quarter. Willicott started the scoring again in the quarter with a rebound and finish under the basket.
With every basket the Broncos made, the Flames were able to find their own answer, getting their deficit down to 28 with a 4-0 run that ended at the 1:32 mark of the third quarter.
Both Willicott and Shandra Farmer (JR/Hastings, NE) were able to get the Broncos' lead back up to 30, but Laudato got the last bucket of the quarter to get the Flames to a 60-32 deficit heading into the final 10 minutes.
Baskets by Grasso and Beacom, then a three-pointer by Farmer got a 5-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter going for the Broncos to a 67-32 lead. The Flames answered with a basket and a pair of free throws, but this was not enough as the Broncos outscored the Flames 26-20 ion the fourth quarter en route to the 86-52 victory.
Leading the Broncos was Willicott with 19 points and 14 rebounds (8 O - 6 D). Also in double digits for scoring were Grasso (16), and Beacom (10). On the topic of her double-double, Willicott said that "It helped that my teammates were boxing out. Also, the 19 points wouldn't have come without them because they were getting me open screening and good passes."
Also on the topic of the team's recent surge, Willicott mentioned that "We're all just having more fun and enjoying the game rather than worrying about messing up like missing a shot or having a turnover... We are playing our game."
Next for the Broncos is their final non-conference matchup against the Oglala Lakota Lady BraveHearts on Friday. Tip-off is 4 p.m. CST.